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When I mentioned visiting with a good friend in yesterday’s blog, I started thinking about how truly blessed I am to have so many dear friends. Then that got me thinking about different types of friendships and what they mean. Some friendships last for a short period of time while others are there for the long haul. That doesn’t mean that one has less value, only that they are different.
I have friends I went to school with, people who I ran around with, went to ball games and concerts with, talked with on the phone. We were great friends while we saw each other at school every day, but then lost touch and drifted away once we were out of school. When we were kids, I bet we all would have sworn that we’d be friends for life, never allowing that friendship to fade away. But, as for most people, life happens, pulling people in different directions, leading us to take different forks in the road. And that’s okay. That doesn’t do anything to diminish the friendship we shared or the fond memories we all have of our time together.
I’m fortunate enough to also have school friends (some even from grade school…hey, Cindy!) that are still in my life. We don’t see one another as often as we’d like, but when we do, we have so much fun. It’s almost like those school days never ended. I moved away from my home town, but not too far, so, at times, I still manage to see some of my friends from school . I’m almost ashamed to admit this, but I’ve never gone to one of my class reunions…how crazy is that? So, when’s the next one? I think I just may have to put that on my calendar and make an appearance.
Then there are the friends I made when I had my own business. I owned a pizza place from the time I was in my early twenties until my mid thirties. I met so many wonderful people while running that business. And some of those people have continued to be some of my dearest friends. When we get together, it’s like we only saw each other a week or two ago even though it might have been several months since we were together. We’ve kept up on all of the happenings in all of our lives. We used to compare ourselves to the cast of Friends…we sure shared some goofy experiences. I seem to remember a bunch of us going out to what we thought was a devil worshipping commune late one night. And no, we were not drunk! But we had a lot of fun. Didn’t see any members of a satanic cult though…lucky for us!
Then there are the friendships of neighbors and co-workers. You spend a lot of your time in the company of co-workers, sometimes more than you spend with your family. And friendships develop over time. I had friends at my previous job, most of whom I lost contact with once I moved on. I still run into an old co-worker occasionally, and we reminisce about the old days. But I’ve discovered that most of those friendships were based more in proximity and time together, not deep and lasting friendships. Again, there’s nothing wrong with that. We shared a lot of laughter and a few tears (a couple of our co-workers died much too young) and being able to support one another through all of the tough times helped us all. I also had neighbors in my hometown that I was friends with, but it had more to do with living close to one another rather than shared interests. I lost touch with all of my former neighbors. I know it doesn’t always happen like that for some people, but it did for me. Perhaps, in part, because most of my neighbors were elderly and I didn’t really have a lot in common with them other than us being neighbors. But we helped one another out. I’d shovel snow for them and share the bounty of my garden with them. They, in return, would watch my place when I was away and share their home-cooked meals with me. The friendship we had was good for all of us. The fact that it didn’t continue after I moved doesn’t diminish that.
And then there are all of the online friends I’ve made over the years. I’ve actually had the pleasure of meeting some of them, hope to meet others someday, while I will probably never meet the vast majority of them. We’re still able to share snippets of our lives, celebrate our successes, offer comfort in times of sorrow, and get a glimpse of the day-to-day happenings of the lives of our online friends. You might not call your best friend from grade school at two in the morning, but you can feel comfortable posting a blog at that time, knowing that your online friends will read it and respond.
I have friends at my current job (people who are still there and people who have moved to the next phase of their lives), some of whom I truly believe will always be a part of my life, even when I move on to another city (sometime, somewhere). With Facebook, texting, blogging, Skype, oh yeah, and actually talking on the phone (almost forgot that one), it’s much easier to maintain contact than it was in the past. My hope is that we’ll continue to be friends down the road.
So here’s to friends, old and new. A friend is someone who knows you well and still wants to spend time with you, who accepts you just as you are without trying to make you into someone you’re not. When you’re counting your blessings, don’t forget to include all of those friends. Good friends are indeed the family we choose rather than the family we are born into.
Filed under: gratitude, life | Tagged: Facebook, friend, friendship, Skype | 12 Comments »