Who among us does not have a friend. Rhetorical question. Ever been told that to have a friend one must first be?
My little boy is learning about friendship, and as I observe his interactions, I realize that friendship is complicated. Who is a friend? Is it the person you see often? Is it someone who is like you?
Does having many friends mean you’re a nice person? Does having only a few friends mean you’re not?
Whatever friendship should be, I made this decision. I will not tell my son who is and who isn’t his friend. Why? Because choosing a friend is a very personal decision.
“Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience; this is the ideal life.” ~ Mark Twain
I understand Mark Twain’s statement to be the middle of the road, easy-peasy, sit on the fence position about friendship. As we wander through life, we meet those people we interact with on a regular basis. Like your ex-neighbour who now lives too far away to see weekly, but we keep contact through social media. She is someone we can share with about the worry of the month or the bug bite in that part of the body you whisper instead of out loud. These are the good guys.
“The sincere friends of this world are as ship lights in the stormiest of night.” ~ Giotto di Bondoni
Then, we have those friends that seem to appear when life hands you lemons. You may not see these people very often. In fact, you think of them once in a blue moon, like during Christmases or when something very specific happens. Sort of like when you’re trying to find that coconut cream pie recipe – not just any recipe but that specific one that people talk about for weeks after you bring it in to work. You got it from her, who got it from her grandmother, who in turn got it from the friend of a friend of that really famous chef.
No, they’re not bad friends. They’re the friends who are better than the “normal” friends because these friends hug and wipe your tears when you’re in a really bad place. They love you, will drop everything they possibly can to stay by you. They hold your hand until you are ready to let go and wing it on your own again.
“A friend is one who knows us but loves us anyway.” ~ Fr. Jerome Cummings
What’s ugly – well, the truth about you…and ME. Let’s face it: we all have our ugly side. So ugly that we expend quite a bit of effort into pretending that this side does not exist. Actually, I can’t face my ugliness. (No, I’m not going to share my ugliness!)
I am very lucky to have not one but two friends who are my “ugly” friends. And there is no doubt in my mind that they love me. Even more importantly, they like me. They put up with me, and they laugh with me.
How do I know? Well, he chose to stay with me when I could not even bear to live with myself. And, he’s still here. Even when I try to pin my troubles on him, he stayed on to listen to my whines and then hugged me afterwards. Then, he told me that he loved me.
Before you go, do you know who your friends are? The good, the bad and, especially, the ugly? You ought to. Do it for yourself.
Keep making friends – someone said that there are two kinds of people in this world: friends & strangers. The strangers are friends you have not yet met. Maybe we will meet some day, and then we can see what kind of friends we will be. Until then, take care!