The older I get, the more I learn about friendships. Each of us in our lives have different circles that we run in and those circles are made up of different people. Sometimes our circles overlap and sometimes they do not. Sometimes it is best if they do not. That bothered me for the longest time because I wanted everyone to get along and enjoy each other, but the older I get, the more I understand what I like to call, “separate but equal” in some cases. I have come to enjoy and truly appreciate all of the different relationships that I have with people.
For me, I have many different friends. Some closer than others. It is rare for me to let people into my most innermost intimate circle.
It is my opinion that everyone should have a variety of friends in their lives. Each friend has a different role, a different relationship with you. They bring out different sides of you, different dreams and abilities.
They may go by different names than what I label them as, but the meaning and feelings behind them are clear…
The home friend. For me, that means the friend that makes me feel most at home. The friendship may be decades long, or only a few years strong. It is tight. It is well-adjusted. It has been fought for, defended, broken, and rebuilt. The memories stretch far and wide. It is comfortable in the way your favorite sweatshirt is comfortable; worn, familiar, safe. It has weathered a few storms, as it too is battle tested. A home friend remembers the tiny details and is true to themselves, which in turn keeps them true to you.
The soul friend. This one is difficult to write about because though it is eternal, like one’s soul, the connection is tenuous, painful at times, and fragile. Do not misunderstand me, everyone should have a soul sister, but it is a friendship that takes constant strength. Why? Easy; a soul sister is your base, your rope-holder when you are both climbing a mountain and jumping off said mountain. A soul friend finds true value in your pain, celebrates your joy, and feels every ounce of hurt and sadness that you experience. A soul friend bears all things, good and bad, but sometimes needs a moment to breathe, to steady oneself before taking the plunge again. A soul friend will always survive, after coming out a little battered and war torn. A soul friend walks through fire for you, burning the whole time, but still looks forward. A soul friend is connected to you so deeply, so innately, that it will always come full circle.
The adventure friend. This is the friend you want by your side for life’s adventures. Those adventures have covered births and deaths. Small adventures such as sporting events, to grand adventures of the mind through movies and books.
Most All adventures include food. Food is the best conversation, while wearing sweat pants and t-shirts. Her enthusiasm is contagious and you always have more fun when she is around. She is the honest friend; painfully honest. She is not afraid to hurt your feelings. This friend will never lie to you and never let you get away with lying to yourself. She is the one who you know will be there in the front row of your life, taking pictures, remembering important details, and actively pursuing your attention. This is a friend you never have to put on a brave face for. She knows you better than you know yourself, and accepts you unconditionally. She is not one to be taken for granted.
The opposite friend. The friend you have, when no matter how different you are, you keep close to your heart. For me, that friend lives almost 400 miles away. We are opposites in just about every way there is to label, but that has never bothered me. The differences are obvious to most: she is tall, I am much shorter, she is thin and fit, I am not. While she is absolutely gorgeous on the outside, her heart and passion for the things and people she loves inspire everyone around her. We have different belief systems and lead very different styles of life, but the love is there, in deep abundance, shown in different ways. The time that does get to be spent together is precious, like gems that are gathered, held to the light, and studied. A friendship that has survived distance, missed oppurtunities, and special moments when those distances cannot be easily traversed. The opposite friend teaches us how to love recklessly, to throw caution to the wind and soak in the moments that time has allowed. The opposite friend may truly never understand their value.
The parachute friend. This friend is your safety net. They support your dreams, no matter how flighty and impulsive they may be. Regardless if they are well thought out or bring out the reckless daredevil in you, your parachute friend will be there to help you soar or to catch you when you fall. They encourage you. They love you no matter what. They are proud of you. They pick you up and dust you off and send you back on your way. They know you may be safer on the ground, but they also know that is not what you were meant for.
My labeled friends may never read any of these or figure out who they are to me, but that is not of importance. Perhaps this was more for me than anything else. Such is the way concerning friendships: they are not always even: they are not always a two-way street. I could come up with many more labels and descriptions to fit the wonderful people in my life. Some come and go, some have left for good, and others have chosen to stay for life. We are made up of all of those who cross our paths, little by little, piece by piece.
Friendships exist to be the relationships that you choose and grow in the garden of life. You understand that no relationship can ever be forced, for a relationship of force will never equal love. Friends are simply the people that are in your corner.
What friends do you have in life?