Stories that Define Me: on friendship.

*This is the seventh in my mini-series on stories of my past that define me. I’ll write these periodically, as the ideas flow. Enjoy.*

M remarked to me recently that he feels like I have SO MANY friends. Especially compared to him, as he considers just a few close friends as just that: friends.

I found his statement interesting, because I  too consider myself to have a handful of close friends as well as a circle of all of YOU in this home I’ve cultivated here that truly ‘get’ me. That don’t make me feel compelled to compromise, to censor myself, to walk on eggshells, to feel short-changed. Real, solid, friends. Sister-friends, if you will.

Let’s start at the beginning. 

My very first best friend was a girl I met in Kindergarten. Her name is Tali (and yes, we still keep in touch, though, relatively loosely as she is a missionary in Guatemala and Haiti!) and to this day, I truly believe she is who ‘taught’ me how to have a sense of humor. And to cultivate my own sense of humor, with a dash of wit and sarcasm. She is, to this day, still one of the funniest people I know (and actually, now that I think about it, her humor mirrors M’s quite a bit. I bet they’d get along so well…). But beyond humor, she ‘got’ me, even back when we were 6 or 7 years old. We had each other’s back at the playground, we stood up for each other, and we were always together. She is also one of the first friends I made that I felt was ‘my’ friend and not ‘our’ friend (given my sisters and I shared virtually all of the same friends, often, they were ‘our’ friend, not Jess’s or Jen’s or mine, but Tali? Was my friend first and foremost).

Tali and I stayed close friends all the way through middle school and into high school, even after we were no longer classmates (after fourth grade). But what united us was the ability to pick up where we left off, even if it were one month, one year, or even more. There were never apologies needed. There was never the need to feel like you ‘owed’ each other a reason why it had been awhile since we’d last gotten together. Life simply happens, and when you can keep in touch and get together when you can and really value that time together? That’s friendship. 

And that friendship and what I learned from her over all of those years (reuniting once again after my divorce, and talking all through that, and talking all about her own love and life experiences) really set the tone for what I deem the friendship foundation: mutual respect, love, give-and-take, and simply for it to be effortless. For you both to WANT to make the time for each other, to make each other a priority. To honor each other’s life paths and goals and desires. To listen, and not always immediately advise, or provide an opinion. To laugh. Friendship is happiness, and when it is no longer happy, friendships evolve

It took me a long time to realize that friendships evolve and that it’s okay if you come to a point where you realize that you have outgrown a friendship, or that friendship is no longer enjoyable for you, or for them. Where there is more strife, tension and negativity, than laughs, caring and respect.

The friendships I hold dear to me now are those that I consider sister-friends, that ‘get’ me, that understand why I live my life the way that I do, in every single way. Because that’s exactly how I treat those friends as well. Respect what they do, love them for who they are, and that friendship will thrive for as long as it’s meant to.

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26 thoughts on “Stories that Define Me: on friendship.

  1. Loved hearing about your friendship with Tali. I have a friend (we’re still very close) that I met in pre-school. And it took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that friendships can and do change. Some stand the tests of time, others don’t. And that’s ok. The most important thing is that you do indeed surround yourself with friends that are truly reciprocal in the relationship. I’ve had way too many one-sided friendships. “Friendships” that made me more sad or angry than they ever made me happy.

    1. Isn’t it crazy how you can have a friendship that spans SO many years and it can still mean so much to you today as it did then? I love that! It has taken me a long time to realize that sometimes friendships can end and it’s nobody’s fault, sometimes you outgrow them, sometimes you just go separate ways. Reciprocal friendships are key and those that make you HAPPY, not stressed or mad! That is the anti-thesis of friendship!!

  2. 🙂 Beautiful post my friend. I get this – I really get this, and I am so honored to be on of your friends, to have you in my life, to know you have my back and I have yours. Love you! XOXO

  3. Beautiful post, sis. I’ve always been a big believer in the idea that friendships shouldn’t be work. Marriage – yes, that’s work (in a good way), but friendships? Nope. To me, friendships should be easy, natural, flowing, and nourishing. When they start to veer away from that path? That’s when it’s time to think about moving on from the friendships you’ve evolved out of. It’s hard to do but totally worth it in the end.

  4. Great post! I get to see two old friends while I’m traveling next weekend, and I can’t wait. It’s amazing to have sister-friends in our lives to pick back up with. These reunions will be especially fun because I’ll get to meet their kids for the first time!

  5. I so hear you on this. I have noticed my circle of friends getting smaller and smaller. I suppose I’m simplifying by being more “me” than ever before. Some friends are having difficulty with allowing that, I’ve found. There may be space at another time in my life – as we’re constantly evolving – but at this time, it feels strained. Why force something that isn’t working?

    Besides, there’s no hatred… just a feeling of this doesn’t fit right now and that’s okay.

    And, like you, I do know others in my life where we can just pick up where we left off. That’s something special for sure!

    1. Simplifying life, you, friends. It just makes sense. Make time for the ones you value and the ones that value back. It’s as simple as that. This doesn’t fit and that’s ok <-awesome way of putting it. It just HAPPENS sometimes.

  6. totally how I am with certain friends too. I love being able to pick up where you left off. Such a great friendship. You are an amazing friend, that’s why you have so many!

    1. You are an amazing friend too!! And I can’t wait to meet you someday soon because I have a feeling it’ll feel exactly like that, like we just picked up where we (never) left off 😉

  7. Oh I totally get this. I have those friends too. That part where you just pick up where you left off, great. And the part where you DON’T feel guilty for it…even better.

  8. loved reading this post! I defintely get this, and after moving around many times, getting married, etc, friendships are redefined and new friendships are formed, etc. I love your insight so much!

    1. I bet you do!! It really makes you realize what friends mean the most and ARE true friends, especially when you do move around more often!! Totally!

  9. This is a beautiful post. That feeling of being able to pick up right where you left off and not feeling like it’s an effort for either of you – priceless. As I’ve gotten older, it’s less about the sheer number of friends but the quality of my friendships that matter so much more. And then there’s this whole blogging thing – whoa. Beyond anything that I ever expected. Like you said, those “sister-friends” that get you and how you live your life. I feel so grateful for this.

    1. The blogging thing…blows my mind. How many people I consider friends in this world, that GET me. YOU get me. I get YOU. It’s a wonderful circle 🙂

  10. I absolutely love this post and the quotes you included. I’m thankful for my many sister friends. And, I’m not surprised given your nature and compassion that you are blessed to have many a be a sister friend to many.

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