My dad is full of words of wisdom. Actually, I think the majority of it comes from his grandma(my great grandma) Margaret. My dad thought quite highly of her and even though she died when I was really young and I barely remember her, I know she was very special to my dad…perhaps the most special person in his life, and had a lot of influence over the way he thought, and thinks.
Take friendship, for instance.
My dad has always said stuff like one true friend is worth more than a thousand simple friends. He also believes that most people have only a few real friends. The rest are simple friends or
Let’s talk about that.
There are lots of different kinds of friends. Friends from school. Friends from extra curricular activities. Friends you have because of your kids. Friends from work. In all of these cases, you have a bond because you have something in common. You know the same people. You share an interest in the same thing. You spend a lot of time together. You have something to talk about.
What my dad is talking about when he says “friend” is someone who surpasses all of that. Who knows you inside and out. Knows what your beliefs, morals and values are. Knows what is most important to you in life. One who would NEVER badmouth you to someone else. Ever. For any reason. Someone who is there, unconditionally, no questions asked, no reason needed. Who has seen you at your worst, and your best and supports you either way. Someone who you can talk to every day, but also someone who you can go awhile without talking to, and it’s not weird.
All the rest, are just aquaintances.
How many of your friends know your birthday? Your husband’s birthday? Your kids’ birthdays? Without facebook or anything or anyone else to remind them? How many of your friends know your middle name? Your parent’s names? How many of your friends know your thoughts on abortion? On Evolution? homosexuality? On capital punishment? How many friends, when all the others are badmouthing you, will stand up for you instead of joining in? or at least keep their mouths shut and not join in? How many of your friends, when you are fighting with your significant other, will tell you that you’re the one who’s wrong? Or how many would tell you you need to kick his ass out? And if he kicked you out, who would take you in, already knowing the whole story, no need to ask questions? How many friends, when you’re about to get married, would tell you you’re about to make the biggest mistake of your life, if in fact you were? How many would wear that teal coloured dress with pride, never saying a bad word to anyone about it?
I have thought a lot about my friends lately. In school I was never really a part of any one group. I hung out in a lot of different circles. I grew up playing baseball and in highschool I was on the track and rugby teams, but I wasn’t a “jock”. And I certainly wasn’t a cheerleader. I had friends through sports, but I wasn’t defined by that. I was also a peer mentor and a peer tutor, but I wasn’t a goodie goodie. I had friends who did drugs. I had friends who sold drugs…(sorry mom). I drank underage with a lot of friends and went to a lot of parties in different circles. My best friend was the president of the highschool student council. I had other very good friends who spent more time out of school than in it. I never smoked, but spent a lot of time in “the smoking area”. I had friends who were 4, 5 and 6 years older than me, and a few years younger than me. I had a lot of “fun friends” and a few true friends.
In University I knew all kinds of different people, from differnet places. I worked and volunteered at different places and met people that way… but only two people I met in University were at my wedding.
Now, I have friends that I have met since moving to Goderich, since having kids. I have met friends through my kids. I have met friends through my work,a dn throguh my husband.. People I never thought I’d have anything in common with. I still have the same friends from elementary school, highschool, University, and now my life in Goderich…but how close am I really with any of them? Out of all those people, out of all the people I know, period, I can count the number of people who I think really KNOW me, really get me, really accept me, on one hand.
What does that mean? It’s a tough lesson to learn, and it always comes at a hard time. People always say “this is when you learn who your true friends are”…and it’s true. But, again, my dad was right. As you get older, your number of real friends decreases. For whatever reasons – distance, kids, careers, different opinions on aspects of adult life, etc. In highschool as long as you could buy the booze or have the party, we were buddies. If you could drive, great. If you were easy to get along with, not stuck up, and didn’t talk behind my back too much, fine. Because, after all, it WAS highschool, and that’s part of being there.
I’ve been out of highschool for almost 11 years. Some are still there. Some people have all the same friends (not necessarily my highschool, just people in general). Some still gossip and act like they are in highschool…and when you have friends from many different groups, it’s not too hard to find out if others have been talking about you. It sucks, no matter how old you get and it’s immature, no matter how old you are and yet, it seems to be expected. It’s interesting to see how far some people come, and how far some people don’t. I have reconnected with people I haven’t seen or talked with much in 10 or 15 years and a couple of them feel like truer friends than people I saw every day in highschool or beyond.
The friendships that withstand all the drama of highschool, young adulthood, new parent stuff, all the marriage stuff, all the “so this is what it’s like to be a grown up” STUFF and the people you can still talk to, really talk to, even when your lives are on completely different paths…the people you can still find new stuff to talk about, the people who may not have known you forever, but you can tell your whole life story to and feel like they know you better then the people who were actually there…those are my friends. How many friends do I have? I’m still trying to figure that out…I have friends from every area of my life. I have family that have become friends, and I even have a friend that has become family. I’ve learned who I can talk to, and who I cannot…and that has changed over time. There are “fun friends” and there are real friends and there are both. There are days that I wish I could go back to highchool – such a fun, carefree time. But then I look at where I am now and the friendships that I have – some have stood the test of time, some have not. Some that I have gained since becoming a parent…and those friendships, the ones I treasure right now, are worth so much more than the ones of the past. Some of them are based in the past but have survived the present. Some have not. It’s hard to accept that, hard to let go…another hard lesson to learn. I have learned that some of the friendships I thought I had were not ever what I thought they were. It’s not easy learning that, but I’m glad I did. So, to my true friends, I say thank you, and I love you.
And to my Daddy – once again, you were right.
3 hours ago