Two friends (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What is a friend? Honestly, I don’t know anymore. I used to know, or so I thought. But, things change constantly, people change, and someone who might have been a friend to me in high school, does not necessarily mean that we would be friends now. You can have life-long friends and also period friends, those that belong in a time and place where memories and laughter should stay. Maybe, it’s just ME who has changed. I accept different things, fewer things, now that I am older.
On one hand I have a lot more tolerance, yet, I now tolerate a lot less. Can you understand that? It does seem hypocritical but it isn’t at all. I have so much more tolerance for all sorts of people and things and I don’t judge people quickly but at the same time I will not put up with things that do not serve me well, i.e. many years ago I used to put up with a friend that was funny but also very negative; a person who gossiped incessantly and made me feel bad about myself. I didn’t like who I was when I was with this person. Our friendship ended, not in a fight or a fury and while I no longer have her occasional funny self, I also don’t have her negative pathology weighing me down. It’s been years now and I don’t miss one thing about our past friendship, in fact I feel a lot happier.
I can meet a new friend in the blink of an eye and it will be mutual, we will laugh, enjoy the same things and feel an instant connection. With all good intentions to get together, it won’t happen and I have learned to be alright with that. It used to hurt me terribly but I have grown up and old and I understand that things sometimes do not work out even though everything seemed right. Things happen, if it doesn’t work, let it go. Life is complicated. It wasn’t meant to be….move on.
So, to answer what is a friend you need to look at yourself first. What is a friend to you? What do you need in a friendship? I need support and trust, dependability and warmth. I not only need to like that person but to like the person I am with you. You learn, you have to like and love yourself first.
Friendship is a gift, a slow, warming present, shared over a cup of coffee, or iced water and over time, if it is meant to be, it evolves with trust and the deepening begins like the wrinkles on my face, etched with memory, mutual understanding and love.