It helps to journey through life knowing there are others trekking right along with you. That’s why friendships are so important. I think back to the friends I’ve had and how they often came into my life at the just right time. I also can’t help but wonder if I ever had any influence on any them, good or bad.
It’s funny how some friends were a daily part of my life and now they barely say hi at the grocery or our paths haven’t crossed in a decade. We go through so many phases of friends throughout our life, but there are typically a few constants.
Trial and error.
Like, the trial and error friends. These are other babies and toddlers your parents randomly set you up with. There were toys involved and you were learning how to play together, share and not bite or hit.
You basically sat across from each other drooling and you found yourself wondering why this other kid was holding your favorite George Giraffe. These friends typically didn’t last very long. Afterall, at that age it’s normal to feel like biting the George thief and you quickly learn that’s not acceptable. Hard lessons to learn.
The learning friends. The ones that knew you before you realized how to clean your food face or that people stink. The ones you went through elementary school with. The ones that were mean to you or were your first crush or maybe both. The ones that helped you figure out exactly the type of friend you want, or don’t want. The friends that helped, or hurt, to develop your friendship style. The ones that came to your birthday parties and sleepovers and giggled over silly ideas. These friends sometimes trickled into high school, but not always.
The survival friends. The friends you held on tight to through high school. The different groups that formed and falsely made you feel like you’d be with that group forever. With these friends you grew up. You went through hard life experiences and learned too much together. These friends help each other through that awkward transition into adulthood.
The experience friends. The friends you had after graduation. The ones in college or work or whichever path you chose. They were with you through being on your own for the first time. They were there when you made terrible choices and when you made great ones. They worked long hours with you, studied into the early morning with you and still had time to talk about life. They went with you through many new and exciting adventures. Many remained a friend for years to come, some you never spoke to again.
The acquaintance family friends. You worked with them, by choice, or not. Some became mentors and eased you into the world of “9 to 5”, which was initially more like 8 to 7, or 12 to 9 and all weekends and holidays. They were strangers, but they were also your family. You saw them all day and usually after work too. You laughed together, ate lunch together, made it through the rough days together. Then, you suddenly started walking down different work roads and that bond broke, until your next job when it started all over with new strangers.
One day you were just smooshed together like a peanut butter sandwich with this friend, another mom. You didn’t mean to be friends, but you were in the same season and kept going to the same baby stores or labor and delivery classes and you just started to stick together. Before long you were comparing poopy diaper stories and crying together over first steps and birthday parties. Then you suddenly turned into sports and school moms together and the tears continued. You have many talks over strong cups of go juice and it lifts your spirits up every single time.
The safe one.
Through all the different friends, some stay and some drift away. One friend, the sparkling one that we should never let go no matter when they cross our path, is the safe friend. If you’re very fortunate you’ll have more than one. Some you let go before realizing their rarity.
This is the friend you can call or text when you have great news or devastating news and they’ll be there either way. The friend you can say absolutely anything to without fear of judgment. The friend you know without a doubt has your back. The friend you can text and just say, please pray, and you know they will. The friend who knows you and what you need sometimes better than you do. The one who only wants the very best for you. Your person, your safe friend.
Not only should we strive to seek, keep and appreciate the safe one. We should strive to BE the safe one.
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