If relationships are like beds (we can talk about that later), then friendships are “juuuust riiighhht”. But not all friendships are created equal, and that’s one of the things about friendship that I like. They can be just as superficial or deep as you want or need. There is no need for one-size-fits-all. You just have to make it work for both of you.
Having a friend associated with each of my interests and phases of life is like hiding chocolates for myself around the house: there’s a wonderful burst of endorphin as I go about my day when I encounter someone whom I care about and whose company I enjoy. Each person brings something different and unique to the equation, and if they regard me as a friend, then I am probably reciprocating. I may not be necessarily that close or emotionally intimate with each friend, but I feel the ones that are the best, the ones that will endure, are those where there is a mutual commitment to the relationship at whatever level the relationship resides. That commitment is on par with the depth of the relationship. For example, my work buddies are committed to sitting next to me at meetings, or backing me up when I need it, but they may not necessarily come hold my hand while I cry at the prospect of being an empty-nester. My exercise buddies may call to make sure I’m OK if I don’t come to class, but they may not necessarily volunteer to help set up the fundraiser that I’m organizing. This type of friend are my little Hershey’s kisses, See’s scotchmallows or Godiva truffles that I squirrel away around my life.
The Ghirardelli Earthquake Get Ready For the Big One Sundae ($24.95, “rocky (sic) your world with this treat of epic proportions 8 scoops of premium ice cream, 8 delicious toppings, finished with sliced bananas, whipped cream, chopped almonds and cherries”) of friendships are those where you know you each can be your worst self, it’s safe to be your best self, you can have your worst argument or your most lively discussion, and you will cross the globe if needed by the other. These friendships have no distance, age, race, religion, socioeconomic or emotional barriers to them, and they persevere through all obstacles. These friends are never too busy for you, never to upset with you, never too frustrated for you, and will do anything for you even if you are getting on their last nerve.
These friendships are as vital to me as clean air, clean water, and a warm, dry shelter. My friends provide context to both my external and internal reality, and provide a level of fun that is just not possible by myself. They bring new ideas and perspective to my world view, which delights me. They help me see my blind spots, both good and bad. They see the best side of me without ignoring the part that needs work. They love my children like they’re their own.
So, dear friends of all types in my life, thank you!
“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend “ – Albert Camus