I have no idea why this has been on my mind so much lately. But for some reason, something triggers a thought and I’ll think, ‘I’m lucky’, because even when I’m worrying about God knows what, I realize there are constants that pull me through the rough patches — and one of these constants is friendships.
Saturday night I went out with a friend. Hmmm… Our history is interesting. I met her when I moved to London and we were flatmates for a year. We were ‘friendly’ but not necessarily friends. There was a bit of an age difference. After we parted ways as flatmates, that was pretty much it. Never saw each other again. Fast forward and somehow she found me last year after relocating to New York City. Would we have anything in common other than a shared living space more than a decade ago? Turns out, her personal life is changing in a major way, and without divulging the gritty details, she’s learning a lot about herself. As she puts it, she’s learning about “being a strong, independent woman”…something she somehow sees in me?…Hm. Anyway, back then before our lives crossed, I’d made a huge life change — a drastic decision, moving lock, stock and
barrel suitcases 3,400 miles to London — leaving employment, domicile and vehicle behind.
So, she’s going through a rough patch…and she needs a friend, and I know where she’s coming from. And she’s lucky because she has a support system, and I’ll try very hard to be a friend because I admire her. She’s intelligent, funny, just an all-around nice person, and I feel I’m really getting to know her — because before I didn’t. We’re both also older, and with age, comes maturity. I see that in her now; I didn’t see that before. We simply had nothing in common.
Now, that gets me thinking again…Can you develop more than just a surface friendship later in life? (She’s made it clear that she’d like to hang out more…do stuff together…go on girls weekend trips. Hm.) Silly question, perhaps, but wouldn’t you think that at a certain point you have your dearest friend — your ‘BFF’, or core group — your clique, so to speak, so do you really need more friends?
Out of the handful of friends I have, there is simply one person on this planet that I trust, who I consider ‘family’. Our friendship has lasted almost 20 years. I’ve come to realize, this is a long time, especially since we didn’t meet each other until adulthood. It wasn’t like we grew up together or lived in the same neighborhood as children, went to school together or our parents knew each other.
After much introspection, I believe our friendship has lasted and is genuine because there is a mutual respect. With that respect comes honesty and knowing that that person ‘has your back’. When life gets busy, we don’t talk as often as we’d like, but when we do, you’d never know it. It’s like we pick up right where we left off.
My mother, aunts and their friends (females), all seem to have these types of long-lasting relationships. I was starting to wonder if it was a generational thing, but it seems it isn’t. It’s a human thing. People get close to and stay close to those they admire, respect and trust. That’s it. Is there more to it than that?
What are your views on friendship? It is easier for men or women? And for the women out there, is there one friend or a group of friends that you’ve latched on to that you see more than just friends and actually think of as family? (Well, as long as it isn’t one of those dysfunctional families that end up on an afternoon talk show…)