I had breakfast with a friend yesterday. It was meant to be a quick catch-up after we both dropped our kids at school. But we just sat there and talked and talked, ordering more and more coffee. You see, we did the catching-up/chit-chat thing and then we moved on. We moved on to real stuff. We talked about where we are in our respective lives, what we are working on professionally and personally. We talked about our anxieties and our fears and our hopes. We talked about how it is okay, and wonderful even, to have stuff, to struggle, to stop pretending that all is perfect because it never is. It never ever is.
And then we talked about friendship. And this is when it got really interesting. We talked about what it means to be a true friend, to be really connected to another person. We talked about how different friends can serve different purposes. Some friends are there to have fun with, to party with, to shop with. Some friends are brilliant in crisis and will call incessantly or show up with food when you have suffered trauma or loss. Some friends will flit in and out of your life depending on what’s going on in their lives. Some friends are endlessly devoted and dependable and some are much less so. And yet they are all friends.
I think I am realizing more and more how critical friendships are to me. Good, deep, thoughtful friendships. For many years, I think I put boys and then men ahead of friendships. And I know I’ve put my family ahead of friendships, too. And this makes sense to me; it is my family after all. But for some reason in the last couple of years I’ve recognized how central my friends – old and new, online and off – are to my health and happiness.
And I am knee-deep in the drafting of a novel about three friends. The book is in many ways an ode to friendship itself and an examination of how friendship evolves over time as romantic partners and then children enter the picture. Clearly, I am interested in the topic.
Anyway, this is a bit rambling but I do love rambling. I guess I just wanted to come here and say that I am a big believer in making and maintaining friendships well into adulthood and the idea and art of friendship is something I’m taking quite seriously these days. I of course wish there were more hours in the day to call and see all of my friends, but life is life.
Anyway, I’d love to hear your thoughts on friendship. Do you have a lot of close friends or just a few? Do you have friends whom you can talk to about the hard and messy and vulnerable things in your life? Have you continued to make friends in your adult years? Do most of your friends come from particular times or places in your life – childhood? school years? career? parenthood? Do you agree that different friends serve different purposes and we cannot expect one friend to be everything to us? Has making – and keeping – friends proven easy or hard for you in life? Do you have any online friends whom you’ve never met in “real life”?
(Clearly I could ask and ask and ask some more, but I am cutting myself off and I apologize if this post is a bit less than polished. I am tired and overwhelmed in the best way possible from all of your wonderful comments yesterday. Thank you, guys.}