When I was younger, I spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out what type of friend was good for me. Over the years, I’ve learned that the definition of a good friend is different to almost everybody. Besides sharing likenesses and a willingness for friendship, the most important things to me found in a friend include trust, respect, openness, acceptance, and even loyalty to some degree. (I also am a fun-lover, so please back out now if you are the uptight kind.) After having some failed friendships and disappointments, I’ve learned that others do not always find these attributes at the top of their own lists.
I’ve also learned that it is sometimes hard to spot a good friend. Maybe you can pick out people like this from your past. I certainly can, and I was most definitely a “bad friend” at one point or another too. Without going into details of course, a few friend “types” quickly come into my head…
Fake friends, for example. You know them, I’m sure. They are the “friends” who only come around for the fun and bail when times change or get tough. These are people who may drop you as a friend for another…or maybe they are just the back-stabbing, information-seeking type. For me, these types of friendships are truly the most heartbreaking since the relationship did not obviously appear one-sided in the beginning.
What about forced friends? Granted, these friendships aren’t nearly as messy, but they are sometimes equally as dreadful. Time has never stood more still than when I’ve had to try to relate to someone on a totally different wavelength than myself. Certainly we’ve all been in this situation. A friendship like this might exist because of your children or spouse.
Anyone have a friend that only comes around when invited or when your help is needed? This is also known as a one-sided friendship. I usually avoid these. People like this really do not have interest in investing the time and energy it takes to be a friend. Personally, I don’t have a need to constantly only “help” out, or to prompt and encourage a friendship relentlessly. You are either in or you’re out; you’re with me or you’re not. Honestly, can a decision be made already?!
When I moved to town H four years ago, I had almost given up on having really good, lifetime friendships again. Although I desperately missed the groups of friends I shared so many memories with in the past, I figured being a mom and my children’s socialization were more important than me relating with someone on a regular basis. And although I am a pretty extroverted person, I can easily be introverted as well, and instead delve into a project rather than try to “make” friends. Thankfully, town H did not disappoint me, and I am now blessed with many I happily call Friend!
I have a totally rad group of friends! And yes, you CAN sit with us. We aren’t that type of group. We are women from completely different backgrounds and ways of thinking (yes, you will know our opinions…or at least mine-sorry, Ladies!). These are women that I completely respect, admire, and love. Our bonds are almost family-like, although sometimes I think that they are just as strong because unlike family where our ties are pre-chosen, we choose to be friends. We choose to love each other regardless of our imperfections and oddities. We choose to step-up when everyone else is stepping back. We choose to share our flaws, our fears, and our secrets. We support one another, regardless of the situation, and give honest advice and feedback. I feel energized after spending time with a group so fun and rich in experience and warmth.
Unfortunately for me, though, I said see-ya-later to my dear friends of town H recently. I am very sad to see this chapter of my life close. I credit my growth as a person to my friendships with these Girls, and am thankful to have grown as a woman alongside of some of the best. I have gained confidence from their encouragement, and peace from their welcoming spirits.
I have also grown as a mother. I am more trusting of others and more relaxed as a parent. I am so appreciative to have had many friends love my Littles with much gusto and acceptance.
I have grown as a friend. It feels good to share your time with others and ponder different viewpoints. Although I try to be non-judgmental, I continually am challenged by my friends to re-evaluate my stances and look at things in different ways. I am forever grateful for their openness and respect for my beliefs and values.
Beyond words, I am also blessed to have such beautiful, close friends of whom I share many similarities and enjoy many of the same interests with. There is nothing like spending time with someone who “gets” your insanity and appreciates your eccentricities; being in the company of someone who laughs with you and cheers you on. Friendships like these are truly once-in-a-lifetime, and I will cherish forever the memories and moments shared with the friends who have touched my soul, made me happy, and gave me hope.
Life is different now without my friends a text away, without my extended family close by, and without the familiar comfort that town H brought to me and my family daily. The joy of our day-to-day routine has faded some, and the excitement that a new school year normally brings is clouded with uncertainty. The realist that I am does not believe that friendships comparable to what I’ve described will be found in city G, our new “home”. Right now, positivity in our house is low and we are questioning why we have been placed in such an unfamiliar and far-away place. Of course, I am NOT complaining about our placement here (especially since I firmly believe we are to be held accountable by our own decisions), but instead am waiting for its reason, and reluctantly looking ahead for our new “normal”.
Although I am sure it will come sooner than I think, today I am grateful to have memories and hope that were brought to me courtesy of friends who loved me regardless, treated my kids like their own, and who shared their lives and hearts openly and honestly, and without exceptions. Especially now that my days are quieter, I treasure these memories made with my town H friends; thankfully praising Him for putting them alongside me for a short while!
Until we gather again, Ladies!