It takes one to know one

“What about your friends, will they stand their ground, will they let you down, again? What about your friends, are they gonna be lowdown, will they ever be around, or will they turn their backs on you?”TLC

When we’re kids and into our teens our friends were EVERYTHING. We made them top priority, above our parents, siblings, and sometimes even relationships.  When the going gets tough, or you get hurt, your friends were ALWAYS there to help pick up the pieces.  Male and females alike banding around one of their own after a disappointment, break up or bad day: A family of friends to laugh, cry, and binge eat with. Sometimes those friends end up being your prom date, a bridesmaid in your wedding, or even your future spouse.

Growing up I had that kind of friend group. From grammar school through high school, a group of boys and girls who literally grew up together. A few fell in love and got married,  and are married to this day. I ended up moving away but still am in contact with them from time to time. Watching as their children grow up, and am reminded of the trouble we’d get into. Because of that, our children being raised by much stricter parents than we had. We were bad and got away with it. Our kids try but don’t.

As we grow older our road narrows, life takes up time which leaves less time to cultivate new friendships.  Soon, we realize that most of our friends are people we work with or the half of the other couples that we socialize with. We might not even have much in common with these “friends” but that kinda how adulting goes. And then if the relationship goes south so do many of the friends…

I don’t have many friends. Over the years I have had people weave in and out of my life who have definitely been someone I could consider a friend. But since we meet most of our friends at work,  and I work at a gym, most of my friends are my students. And they tend to float in my life and right back out depending on what’s going on in their “real life”. The dynamic of that friendship can get tricky too sometimes because boundaries must be set. And often feelings get hurt (usually mine).

Funny thing is, I have a lot of room in my life for friends. I’d like to have more friends. But I don’t actively seek them just like I am not actively seeking a man. So, I have only a handful. I try to cultivate the friendships I do have because I understand that if you want to have friends you must BE a friend. So I reach out. I text first. I call. I “check in”. I do my best to make sure that my friends know that I care about them and am here for them. Here is the sad part. I rarely get the same attention from them. To be fair most of my friends are married and they all definately have lives to live, but with the exception of 2 maybe 3 people, I am always the first one to reach out.  Sometimes I feel like I am a burden or too needy. Or that maybe I value our friendship more than they do.

Over the years I have had best friends that I’ve been thick as thieves with. Being there for each other no matter what. Ride or die. Vacationing together. Raising our kids together. Spending Holidays and birthdays together. Then slowly one by one they have all chosen to remove themselves from my life. Now, thats a mind fuck. Undertstanding why a man breaks up with you is one thing, but being dumped by your bestie? It really sucks.

And its happened more that once, so I’d be a fool not to think that I had something to do with it…. Wait, this is turning into a pity party…. lets change lanes. This is getting a little too raw for a Thursday night.

What I do want to do is honor the friendships that I do have in these few women. One in particular who ALWAYS checks in on me. Always answeres the phone when I call, and always has my back. We might not spend our weekends shopping together or having lunch but this woman is a true true friend. And I appreciate that. I know I don’t say it enough, no one does, but to my friends, I do love and value you.

So now I’d like to encourage you to be the first one to text your friend. Call to make sure they are ok, and always support and love unconditionally. Love is infinite. You can’t give it all away; so love freely. I bet you will put a smile on someone’s face and make them feel as special as you know they are. Even if it’s for just a minute. Open yourself up and be a friend…. the return is always worth it.

Friends forever…A.K.

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