On Friendship

Essay, Friendship

I have a friend visiting from across the country. We’ve been friends since preschool. That’s 23 years.

IMG_3096

Already a solid 5 years into our friendship

23 years ago, on my first day at a wonderfully messy, dirt-filled playground they called a preschool, this freckle-faced kid walks right up to me and asks if I’d like to be her best friend. (I said yes.) Today she is still that way: confident, no nonsense, and fiercely loyal. On top of that, she is successful, beautiful, and one of the funniest people I’ve ever met.

I’ve been thinking about friendship lately. How do friendships start? How long do they last? What’s important? How do you know when to let go and when to hold on?

If I break down my very closest friends and how long I’ve known them, it looks something like this:

23+ years: 1 friend
8-12 years: 4 friends
2+ years: 4 friends

This is both heartening and a little discouraging. On one hand, I have some really solid friendships that I’ve carried with me through a good part of my life. On the other, I haven’t added any new ones to the mix since college.

There are some amazing things about those friendships you’ve had since high school, middle school, or even earlier. You can always count on those friends to make you laugh until you cry, or to let you vent about anything and everything. They know you. They know where you’ve been, who you’ve been, and how you got to where you are now.

And then there are the not-so-amazing things that can grow on old friendships like barnacles on a boat that hasn’t moved in a while. Old friends aren’t afraid to be bitter, to take each other for granted, to be brutally honest even when it’s uncalled for. Old friends aren’t always committed to helping you grow, because what if that means growing apart?

What’s important is being able to see which friends will cheer you on, which friends will help you expand your horizons, and who will join you on crazy escapades you’ll laugh about for years to come.

Getting older means watching friendships grow older too, and paying attention to which ones stand the test of time and which ones belong in the past, where they shone the brightest.

~

Life keeps moving, and I’m looking to the future. With a move to a new city coming up, I’m thinking about how to actively seek out new friendships in my post-college life.

Here are some of my ideas:

  • Seek out groups of like-minded people on Facebook and make an effort to meet up with them
  • Use other online resources for meetups (such as meetup.com)
  • Join a book club
  • Join a gym or yoga studio

~

How have your friendships changed over time? How do you meet new friends? Do you have any tips?

Thanks for reading!
-L

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