Wednesday, May 19, 2004
the friendship revolution
This is the second post I've written this morning. I decided the first one was just so utterly boring that if I really loved you guys I wouldn't make you read it. It started off talking about how I wouldn't talk about Iraq or Israel again today and then it launched into a story that, halfway through writing it, I realized would likely only interest me and the people involved. Do you really want to hear about a surprise bridal shower I went to yesterday? No matter how well I may have embellished the story, I'm betting it would still have been boring to the rest of you. Instead, having just cranked the tune "Teenage Wasteland" (by The Who) quite loud, I am feeling inspired to talk about something else. Friends. (why did that song inspire the topic? well, it just makes for a good song if played at the right volume...and the good feelings it inspired made me think...right on, this is going to be a great summer with great friends....)

Today I am not at the office, I have decided to work a bit from home and on the road (I do this from time to time). This allows me a bit of freedom, and I have made arrangements to do lunch with two of my friends today (mm! dim sum!). This makes me happy. And it makes me happy because I have really truly come to understand in the last 2 years, who my friends really are. Some have come and gone, but some have remained for 20 years (!!) or more. And I have come to deeply appreciate the friends I have now, and go out of my way (often in my weaker and cornier moments) to let them know. Why not? Who doesn't want to hear that they are appreciated?

And I am not alone...I have watched this transformation take place in my other friends; I have watched as they too began to realize the value of some friendships over others, and which ones were worth devoting time to, and which ones were not. I have had some very frank conversations with a few of my friends on the matter (one such conversation took place just this morning in fact), and we have all come to the same conclusion: you make the time for the people who make the time for you, and make the effort for those who make the effort for you. Sounds simple, right? Well, these things tend to slide if you don't pay attention. Are you the one always calling your friend? Remembering to ask how that job interview went, or how his/her sick (blank) is? Are you the one who does all the letter writing or e-mailing? Maybe they only bother to send mass e-mails with no personal content ("hey check out this joke!"), if they bother to e-mail at all.

So myself and a few other friends have suddenly woken up and said that it's not good enough. You want friends who love and respect you as much you do them, and who are willing to work to hold onto the friendship as much as you are. Am I blowing it out of proportion? WORK at it, you ask? What I mean by that is that people are busy....we all have a lot of things going on and are always running around. So when you finally have some free time who are YOU going to spend it with?

I dunno about you, but I want to spend it with someone who is involved in my life, who knows what's going on because they cared enough to ask. Who thinks of me when they hear about a concert coming up that they know I would want to see, and calls me up and invites me to go. Someone I can count on and in turn can count on me. And someone I can laugh with, and even cry with if I need to. Someone who doesn't tell me that they have only done "10% of the taking" in a friendship, when I have given all I had (and had that person happily take it).

Shit happens between friends, that's for sure. But the truest of friendships will endure because those are the ones who aren't afraid to say, hey, I'm sorry for my part in this mess, I was wrong. I have resurrected two of my greatest friendships from many years ago because I came together with the person and we both admitted to how shitty we were to each other, and made honest apologies. It can happen, but it's gotta come from both sides. It's not easy admitting you were wrong, but if your friendship is worth it, you will. Being able to say I'm wrong and I'm sorry has been one of the hardest but most valuable skills I have learned. I think everyone would do well to practice the same in their own lives.

And because of this sudden shift in awareness amongst my friends I am seeing some people get left by the wayside. Two people in particular now seem to be left wondering where everyone has gone, as many of their friends have pulled back and are now spending time with other friends. Two of these people are now scrambling to figure out why suddenly no one is calling them anymore or asking how they are. I'd feel bad, but it's a case of reaping what you sow. Those two are left standing outside of the circle of friends because of their own complacency. Let's face it, you can't drift in and out of people's lives for months at a time and then expect them to drop everything to be friends with you again just because you're bored and have time on your hands.

Anyway, I look for these traits in my friends because I will give it all back and then some. I am intensely loyal and fiercely protective of my friends. I will give all I have if it means saving them. I will give my word, and go to any lengths to try and keep it. I will try to cheer them up when they are down, and ground them if they fly too high. I will love my friends for as long as they will love me (and annoyingly, sometimes past the time they stop loving me).

Today I am going out to have lunch with two of my best friends and I will love every silly moment of it; I have made some time in my day for them, and they have made some time for me in their busy days. I will take pictures as I always do, and I will thank them for spending time with me. And I will kick off my summer with a smile and a laugh.