I am blessed in my life to have a few true,deep, lasting friendships. I can count them on one hand. I think it’s better that way actually. The social networks would like us to believe the importance of high numbers. But its about quality, not quantity. And face to face/voice to voice interaction. What it most definitely is NOT about is a number count on a social network page. Believe me, there’s probably only about maybe 15% of any of these so- called “friends” that would seriously drop everything to come to your assistance. 15% percent who truly feel your pain and share your joy. 85% are – more likely than not – strictly in it for the entertainment value; so be careful what you put out there on the face of books.
This is not to say that I don’t have WONDERFUL friends on the ‘net. I do. I’m making more all the time with this blog. Kelly, Kate, Deanna, Sue, Oscar, “Barney”, Mike, Tom – all stop by regularly and are genuine, genuinely interesting, supportive, caring and lovely people. And there’s my relatives – my Mom, my sister Susan, my Viking, and my 2 Warrior Princesses – Chaos and Mayhem. My wicked awesome sisters in law Janine, Cami, and Teresa – all of whom live too far away from me to get into any trouble with – unfortunately. 😉 But I’m going to talk in a minute about my (other) friends. The ones I know personally who don’t have to love me because I’m related to them….
Friendship is about a shared history. It begins perhaps with shared interests, or similar circumstances. In my case the bond between me and my oldest, dearest friend C (that’s actually what I call her – and of course I’m D) began because we were both the new kids on the block in a small town elementary school. It cements itself with shared events and experiences – good and bad. It flourishes when the relationships are respected and valued with the investment of time.
I remember when C moved to South Carolina after she got married. I was so sad about “losing” her. But I didn’t. (Keep in mind that this was before cellphones/video-chat/computers/texting). We arranged to talk on the phone at least once a week – alternating who called who so the expense was shared. We sent letters and pictures regularly I took the bus or drove down to see them several times. We invested in each other- and still do. When she and T (her hubby) moved back up here, it was like they never left. A friend who is always too busy to talk when you call her, or usually doesn’t return your calls fairly promptly should be demoted to your acquaintance list – if not booted from your social circle entirely. Friendship is definitely not a one-way street. That’s not to say that there aren’t times when one friend is more needy than the other – C and I go back and forth all the time and have since forever. Our doors are always open to each other and the phone lines open 24/7. In the long run there’s a balance, an ebb and flow. Just like any other healthy relationship.
C and I get VERY silly – BFF”s for 40 years can do that unashamedly. She’ll randomly shoot me a text with song lyrics – to which I’ll text back the next line. Then there’s all of our inside jokes – resulting from that lifetime of shared memories. “Someone slipped and fell – was that someone you?” “It’s just a jump to the left” And the iconic “gown-less evening strap” (Pop’s gotta get out the pink Cadillac!). We finish each others sentences and one of us will usually call the other right when the other is thinking about them – or needs to talk but hasn’t picked up the phone yet. We’ve done karaoke together – jury’s still out on this but, boy was it fun! We may do it again, even. We’re weirdsmobiles – its just how we roll.
On the flip side, my sister and I wouldn’t have got through the events of our Dad’s passing without C and T. They literally took us under their wing, listened, pointed us where we needed to go, and quietly, strongly supported our shell-shocked selves through some of the worst days of our lives. She was working (she’s a paramedic) and I called her from the hospital to tell her Dad was gone. She immediately found coverage for her shift and showed up at the hospital. She rarely left my side for the next week. Her husband T left work early that night, got a 30 rack and showed up at our house. We spent that entire night sitting around our outdoor fireplace with my sister and her husband too – drinking, reminiscing, crying and laughing. I can also count on her to give me a good kick in the ass when I need it – as she can count on me – for anything, anytime. I love you my sister C – for always!! You might be wondering why I am not sharing any instances where the roles were reversed and I have been the shoulder for her to lean on. Its simply a matter of respect and trust. I haven’t gotten her permission to share any of that stuff, so I won’t be giving any examples from that side of the fence unless/until I speak with her first. I don’t assume – even after 40 years.
Which brings me to Marti – another childhood friend I’ve known even longer than C. Her dad was our family doctor for many many years. Mar would come up and spend weekends with us frequently and vice versa. I can also remember “hiding out” at her house when I had an argument with my folks – no questions asked. Mar never hesitated to speak her mind (still doesn’t) and has always been fiercely protective of her friends – when she wasn’t talking me into helping her stalk John McK. 😉 Definitely someone I’ve been glad to have in my corner. We drifted apart for awhile. She sent me a lovely lovely note when Dad died – and we reconnected. Dad would be so pleased!
Then there’s my dear Ann. A fairly recent addition to my inner circle; we met because our children are close friends. Thank you Travis and Jocelyn! Quickly discovered we had a lot in common besides our children. She’s a down to earth no-nonsense woman who is one of my strongest supporters. She’s really really really good (really!) at cutting to the core of any issue – fast – and seeing things globally. She gives me perspective. I hope I give her the same. And Miss Irene. Emotionally the strongest woman I know – and she’s a tiny little thing. I’m very conservative -she’s pretty liberal but we make it work with respect and trust. She’s another of my crew that I met because of the kids – so thanks again you guys. Irene bats around a mean balloon when she and I decide to “embarrass” the youngsters at one of their music shows. I don’t see either of these lovely women as much as I would like because of our busy schedules, but that’s OK. Its understood – we’re “there” – picking it up wherever it got left off.
These are my 4 “Go-To Girls” – The ones I’d share the Thelma and Louise moments with. The ladies I would call to help me get rid of the bodies of all the idiots I might have to kill. 😉 The girls I’d sob my heartbreak to, get schnockered with, and take off with for a weekend away – anytime. That’s a hint – by the way ladies. I need a girls weekend desperately. So – who’s down?
“You’re my Sunshine, and I want you to know that my feelings are true – I Really Love You! You’re my Best Friends’. ~ Queen
The Parting of the Ways (40isthenew30.wordpress.com)
- 35 ways to create lasting friendships (bebierosan.wordpress.com)
- Thoughts on friendship (ganaijachic.wordpress.com)