The word “friends” is over used. We use it as a verb. We call everyone we meet a friend. And, yet all of these people cant be actual friends. Being a friend requires something more than just meeting a few times and more than a general interest in spending time with someone more than once.
Being a real friend requires giving something of yourself – it’s more than sharing a story or two. Friendship requires a sacred space for this other person in your being. That a part of them dwell in your heart and on your mind – so much so that you plan for their needs along with yours.
And, you would lend them the good dishes without hesitation.
These friends are the ones who get to see your house (and your person) in every state of disarray and don’t worry about any impending judgement. Real friends wouldn’t judge your messy house or your messy life or your messy situation in any way. Because your real friends helped you create the mess in the first place, or they are more interested in your story than your messy existence.
Before JH, I forgot to make real grownup friends. I knew people. I had acquaintances, but none of these people were friends. None of these people got to see the upstairs in my house or my messy hair when I work out or my real crying face (you know the one – the ugly crying face). These internet friends, or old friends from high school that you may be internet stalking on social media, aren’t the people that you count on to be there when life gets hairy. Those relationships have to be cultivated and built over time. These very special people that are friends, deserve and demand your actual time and attention.
I’m lucky to have this group of friends now. But, it started with just one – JH. We knew each other for over a year before we were real friends. It took a few conversations about a book and an invitation to dance class before we really cemented this relationship. We shared a lot of vodka and a lot of stories and a lot of vodka to build this friendship. It took work and time, but it was totally worth it (and really fun).
As our group grew to include GB (although she doesn’t remember the near death experience that brought us together) and HPG (whose journey to motherhood broke our hearts often) and IWK (when she said “Bam! – you’re a princess,” she was part of our tribe), I knew I’d found the people I would gladly run to in the middle of the night if they called.
These ladies – my lighthouses – my safe harbor – are my balance. If the phone rings in the middle of the night, I will answer for them. And, because we spent the time to know each other WELL, sometimes we know to reach out even before being asked. That’s where friendship differs from acquaintanceship.
I don’t discount the people that I’m friendish with or my acquaintances. Maybe one day they will be actual friends. Until then, I’ll be squeezing more limes on all the #3rdMondays for these ladies – my friends.