Quality over quantity
When you look in the dictionary the definition of friendship is this: It is a state of being friends: friendly relation, or attachment, to a person, or between persons; affection arising from mutual esteem and good will. This sounds so stagnant, unliving, flat. Who would want to have a friendship if it really was based on the definition? Luckily friendships are living and breathing, they have an ebb and flow. They are based on the stupid stuff you did last summer, the fun trip you took to the fair, the impromptu lunch date. Some friendships are there for a specific season and others are there for a lifetime. Friendships start to take on a living form like breathing in and out. To have that best friend that we can relay on for anything is just as important as having a group of best friends that do most everything together. What makes friendships last is the quality of the relationship. I had been talking to a client (who is also a good friend) today about the fact that with age our friend groups seems to stop growing in numbers but instead start growing in importance. We noticed that we may not see our friends all of the time but when we do see them the amount of time spent with them seems longer. What hit me when we talked about this was the fact that I had gone to this friend’s house to help her dog with some pain issues, which maybe took me 15 minutes to do, the other 30-45minutes was spent talking with this wonderful lady. Which then made me think of this other friendship that I have, this is how it has been a part of my life:
A few years back (about 38 years to be exact) there was these two little girls. They both went to the same school but different kindergarten classrooms. They played with each other on the playground and sat near each other at storytime. They were friends. Fast forward a couple of years, these same two girls, not always in the same classes in school but will still find each other on the playground to play and introduce each other to some other kids that would become part of their friend group. These two girls did elementary school together, middle school and high school. They had friends come and go from their friend group, but they made sure to always be friends. Their friendship worked so well because they needed each other. One was outgoing, beautiful inside and out, energetic and willing to try new things. The other was equally beautiful inside and out, but was much more reserved, relied on her outgoing friend to make friends and was more than willing to be the behind the scenes type of person. When high school finished they went their separate ways for college but still stayed in touch. Each girl visited the other in their respective colleges and when it was finally time to settle down in a town though they were far apart from each other, they would visit and have those type of phone calls that would last for hours. The quality of this friendship was so good and strong, that the two ended up living in the same town, living like sisters, blessed with the fact that their kids call them aunts. It’s a lifetime friendship.
Now I cannot talk about friendships without bringing my sister into the discussion. I realize there are those out in the world that have never had the privilege of having a relationship so strong that to live without it would be almost impossible. So other than my husband who is my best friend and God who is my only friend I can trust 100%, my sister is the one person that knows everything about me. To be honest I think she even knows when I burp funny. She and I are different in so many ways that in the end that is what makes us get along so well. Her opinion matters to me, but I love to get her riled. When we both want to do the same thing, I find it is my ultimate duty to make sure she knows that it is a competition and there will be trash talk happening. When I had a very hard time at work, I knew that she would talk me through it. I love that my oldest daughter is a mini version of my sister. I love it more that my sister says my middle child is a mini version of me. My sister and I have not lived in the same state in over 20 years but we talk to each other weekly. It’s a lifetime friendship.
The friendships that can stand the test of time are the best for sure but there are also those friendships that see you through a season in your life. Once that season is over, the person quietly steps back but is still a friend, moves to the category of lifetime friendship, or fades to the background because of changing circumstances. These are not bad friendships, to be honest they are some of the best kinds because you learn and grow from these friendships in ways you might not realize with a friendship that has been ongoing for years. When my husband and I were in our first years of parenthood, we worked opposite shifts so that the kids could have one of us at home with them, but there were times that our schedules would overlap and we would have to have someone babysit. We were blessed with being introduced to a lady we to this day still call Grandma Judy. She took our kids whenever we needed her to and she would take them even when we didn’t. She and her husband loved our kids like their own grandkids. In our minds they were family. As our kids grew older they were able to be at home by themselves more so Grandma Judy started to move out of the picture more, but not out of our hearts. Today we don’t see Grandma Judy much, but the friendship we have with her and her husband is still strong. She was there for us during a season in our lives when we really needed her, we were blessed by her and her husband. She is a lifetime friend.
What kind of friend are you to the people around you? To that end I ask myself what kind of friend am I to those who I know? Making a friendship work and last a long time takes work, love, and dedication to each other. We were not made to be alone in this world. We were made for relationships. We were made for community. Even the most introverted person has his/her “people” that make up the tribe. Remember we are who we hang out with so we might as well make it count. Until next time her is a song that has been special to me and my lifelong friends for so many years: