I was putting on my necklace the other morning with my ‘friends forever’ charm and got to thinking about how my view of friendship has changed over the years. I remember purchasing this charm for my closest friend in high school. I didn’t have the confidence to chose the ‘best friend’ charm because I didn’t know if I could presume that she felt the same way as I did.
In retrospect, I’m so glad that I purchased the charm that I did. In the long term it reflects more accurately my views.
You see, I was under the impression as a young child that there was only one kind of friendship that mattered, that of the one between you and your best friend. If you think about it, many novels and many movies glorify the relationship that young girls and women have with their best friends.
I spent many years feeling sorry for myself because I didn’t have that one ‘bosom buddy’ that was with me through thick and thin throughout my entire life. You see, I moved around a lot as both a child and as an adult. My friendships never seemed to have time to become the kind of long-term friendship that I read about in books or saw in movies. I longed desperately to attain that level of relationship where all that mattered in the world was me and my best friend but in trying to reach that unattainable kind of relationship, I felt even more unlovable.
Perhaps I’m an oddity. It seems that way because all around I see people who hang out with their best friend all the time and while I consider myself having many wonderful, deep and lasting friendships, I do not have one best friend with whom I hang out with all the time.
In my many moves around this country, I’ve learned that friendships evolve and change. There are friends that you do things with, friends that you share similar life circumstances with and then there are those friends with whom you bare your soul. Sometimes a friend in a similar circumstance becomes a friend you share deep things with and sometimes they don’t. Either way, those friendships are just what they need to be.
I’ve learned that expecting one friend to be all those things to you is like expecting your spouse to be all things to you. It’s not possible.
Now, I’m thankful for all the friendships I’ve made in their various forms. I’m grateful for my friend who every year makes time to meet me at the cabin for sharing deeply with each other our true selves. I’m thankful for my daughters’ friend’s mothers with whom I share similar circumstances. I’m pleased too whenever I can get together with that friend I purchased that ‘forever friends’ charm because she’s known me through my many different phases and has stuck by me through it all. I’m deeply touched that I can call the man who calls me his wife, my friend as well.
I spend less time now, labeling my friendships and more time being thankful for what they bring to me. I do not have one best friend but a myriad of different friendships that bring me life.
Here’s to you, all my friends!