Friendship is a curious thing. There are different degrees of friendship, and some of them take no effort at all on your part, while others are more of a committed relationship that takes work. All forms though have value in our lives.
I figure that there are three different types of friends. The fist is the acquaintance. These are people you work with or see at a store or event. You know their name, maybe their kids and/or spouse, you have some commonality and are friendly to each other. Maybe they are your FaceBook friend. But you would not “hang out” with them, or invite them to your house. They may end up in the same place because of mutual friends, but you two would not have arranged it this way. I find that parents have a lot of these friends. These are the instructors, teachers, and parents of the kids your kids are friends with. It’s nice to have these people because it connects you to the world. Makes you feel less isolated and maybe even popular- like in high school. *wink wink*
The next friendship is the “good” friend. These are the people you do invite to your house and go out for drinks with. You confide in them to a point, maybe ask their advice at times. You have things in common and probably have common friends. These are your “buddies” because you deemed them worthy of moving up from acquaintance. You enjoy their company and put in the time to foster the relationship. You put aside time in your life to “hang out ” with the them. This would make up the bulk of your friendship category and having them is important because it gives you the social network of support everyone needs to not feel alone in this big wide world. They can make you laugh and bolster your ego when needed.
The last type though is the most significant to our lives. The “best” friends are the ones that pick us up when we are down, dust us off and help us carry on. They are the ones you want to tell first when something good happens to you. You can tell them anything without fear of judgement or backlash. Well mostly. No matter the time or distance between you, when you are together or talk it as if nothing has changed. These are the people you don’t have to clean your house first before you will let them come over. They know you’re a closet slob. Or that you have a life and can’t always be perfect. It is these friendships that take work. Just like a marriage, you must make time for one another and work to compromise so that both of you are happy. After all you are in it for the long haul. Perhaps it comes easier than the marriage though, but it is a significant part of your life. For some this relationship falls on their spouse or siblings, and for others it is found through happenstance in the world at large. No matter how or why, it is what gives us sanity, and that safety net we all need.
I’m not good at close friendships. I find the intimacy hard and the trust nearly impossible. I distance myself in most relationships and define my part as the giver or listener. Which although it can be draining is where I feel most comfortable. When I do form a closer relationship I am extremely loyal. Problem is I have difficulty making the space and time in my life to fit these precious people in. I feel like it has to be an event or occasion outside the normal routine of my life. And since my OCD makes stepping outside the normal routine hard, I tend to shy away from it. At the same time I crave the social contact, so I am a conundrum. Recently though I have found a friend that I can bring into the everyday of my life and still feel comfortable. From this I am trying to learn to do the same with others. I still fail at times, but at least I feel like I’m making some headway. What I do know is that my friends have become very important to me. I think that I would not be as happy or as able to function without them. They give me stability in my crazy life and let me know that is all gonna be ok. They are my rock. Especially my bestie! I don’t know how I lived so long without one, and she is by far the best and closest friend I’ve ever had. Our friendship is equal and because of that I do not shy away from letting her in. I am very grateful for her.