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Sunday, January 10, 2010

This I Believe: Friendship

There has never been a time in my life where I believe more strongly about the importance of friendship than at this moment. Allow me to explain.

I’ve never been very popular (“popular” in the high school definition). I’m the epitome of an introvert and like small group friend gatherings. Any more than 4 people I struggle with, and even at that, sometimes I get super quiet. Which means, when I do hang out in larger groups of people, particularly groups of people I don’t know very well, I might as well not even be there. I tend to blend in, keep to myself, or try to look busy or otherwise occupied. This means that I often give off a snobby aloofness. It’s not intentional, it’s just a fact. And it’s a fact I’m working on so get off me.

The best friend I ever had was B1. No doubt the romantic element to our friendship helped to fortify our friendship and vice versa, and maybe it was the circumstances of our time and youth, but there was something in explicable about the depth of our friendship. It was also the depth of or friendship that made the ending of the romantic relationship so difficult. It wasn’t just losing a boyfriend, it was preparing the way to inevitably lose my best friend. Ten years have passed since the beginning of our friendship and I think about that often. Despite the fact we haven’t spoken in a couple years, but I believe he was critically essential to defining who I am today and for that, I am grateful for what we had, who he was and the roles we played in each other’s lives.

My best friend is a whack job and I mean that in the nicest way possible. There isn’t a person in this world I trust more to be honest with me, who genuinely cares about me, my future, my friends (even the ones she’s never met or barely knows), my life. I don’t want to get into her so much, because really, this is about me. But I want to continue with this idea, that I am who I am and where I am today because of her. I’ve come to understand that there is nothing absolute or guaranteed in this life, but if there were one person I believed who will be around, it would be her.

More recently the friends I’ve been spending the most time with are the newest friends. I have been fortunate enough to cross paths with some of the most amazing women for I feel fortunate enough to call my friends. Its also true that my history of friendship have been predominantly dominated by men but for the first time in my life the relationships with my women friends have been the strongest, most satisfy and personally enriching. The women in my life now are strong examples of kindness, generosity, honesty, patience, faith, endurance and love. As I spend more time with them, I can see how their example and perspective help define this time in my life. And for that I am eternally grateful.

And let’s be honest, if I had more male friends most of them would likely move into the “friends with benefits” category….just sayin’.

So then, what is it that I believe about friendship?

I believe the most enriching and defining friendship elevates you to the next level of existence. I believe that friendship is at the root of lasting relationships. I believe that best friendships worth participating in are the ones that are reciprocated but the ones that are not are usually the ones that need it the most.

My truest belief is that most friendships are transient. Being transient doesn’t make them any less significant or meaningful, it just means the time you have it is finite (like most things in this mortal life). I believe that people enter and exit our lives at the exact moment they are suppose to. What this means is the participation in friendship needs to be present today, because tomorrow may never come.

Additionally, I believe friendship is completely voluntary. Sure we are commanded to love one another, blahblahblah, but the reality is that, if you don’t want to engage in a friendship with someone, then don’t. You can’t force it, you can’t expect it, you can’t pretend to want it...so don’t. No shame, no hard feelings, but obligatory friendship is mere fa├žade and a waste of time. Neither of which I am particularly interested in.

I owe much to my friends for my survival here. More than they will ever know. I believe more now than ever before that the reason that all the goodness I have in my life is because of the people that have been put in my life that I am blessed enough to call my friends. Sometimes I think about the trials I’ve been though, particularly in the past couple years and part of me believes that those trials were to prove the greatness to which my friends measure up. Because I believe, its when in your darkest hour, the light of true friendship, shines the brightest.

Thank you, friends, for being that light.

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