I'm taking the typically exceptional blogging advice from my seven year old daughter and writing about friendship tonight. Every so often, I put Ziva (my daughter) on the spot for a blog idea just to see what she comes up with - and she usually blurts out a pretty good idea.
She has friendship on her mind because she gets to see one of her best friends this weekend. Ziva is part of a trio of girls that were best gal pals all of last year at school. Unfortunately for her, one of their trio moved out of state over the summer. Well, the friend and her family will be in town this weekend and "absolutely crazy with excitement" would be an understatement for what Ziva is feeling right now.
This got me thinking about friendships. Actually, helping Ziva cope with her friend moving away this summer got me started....seeing her excitement when she returns gave me the push to write about it.
There are many types of friendships in life. Most come and go, but some turn into a lifelong bond. There are friends you see every day while others you may not see for years at a time. With the internet today, it's likely you even have a few friends that you've never actually met. So how do we get there?
Growing up, at least when I was a kid, most of my friends were the other neighborhood kids. I also have some pretty good friendships that developed in grade school that continue today. Back then though, everything seemed so final. When a friend moved away, it felt like the world was coming to an end. You can't blame a kid though since they haven't yet learned how many people will come and go in your life. Back in my day, we also didn't have social media to "keep us together" so easily when far apart.
High school and college bring on a different class of friendships - at least for those of us who had a little bit of maturity. You're starting to think about your future and begin surrounding yourself with like-minded friends. It also helps that you're becoming independent and more involved in a wider variety of activities. Your friends are no longer limited to the people sitting next to you at school or who live on your block.
As an adult, you may find yourself narrowing down your list of friends and/or separating them into different groups. Friends from work, the next door neighbor and the guys on your bowling league are fairly common. If you're in a relationship, you probably have friends from your significant other or even other couples you hang out with. Having kids tends to shift you into having friends who also have kids. It's not always the case, but it's almost funny to watch how often that shift takes place.
So what makes a real friend? Is it how long you've known them? How much you've been through together? The number of common interests you have? How often you see them? What about the friends you never see or have never met?
I am the type of person who tends to have a smaller number of really good friends. I don't collect friends like badges just for the sake of having friends. My Facebook account tells me I have 220 friends. If I were to subtract the 197 of them that are related to me from my wife's side of the family, well, I'd have a shorter list. I love them all, but in reality, I rarely talk to many of them. Maybe I'm not a very good friend?? Or, maybe some of my friendships can handle the longer time in between contact??
I have really close friends that I've known since I was a kid, but only catch up every year or two. I have friends I've made online because of blogging that I "talk to" on a daily basis, but have never actually met in person or even talked to on the phone. I have friends of all shapes, sizes and types in between. What I love about having these friends is that there's a place for them all.
I love my friends. I'm even getting better about making new friends as time goes along. Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring, but I do know I will have just the right friends to get me through it and/or to enjoy it with me. Until next time....