I saw one of my very best friends today.
It’s always good to see old friends, and in this case, it very quickly became like we’d barely been apart. He walked in the door, and sat down, and we just started talking like old times. Now, there are certainly some things that have changed, because hopefully we don’t talk about the same things we talked about when we were 18, but still it just came so naturally.
People say that’s the sign of a good friend, and although that has often been the case for me, I wouldn’t say that it’s required, and I wouldn’t say that it’s any sign of how good your friendship is with someone based on how quickly you can recover the awkwardness of that first meeting. Who says that it won’t be tough when you see someone you haven’t seen in a while?
That’s what we do though isn’t it?
We tend to just make friendship all about pithy sayings and simple generalizations and over-simplifications. We talk about how a friend will “borrow something and forget to ever give it back” (something I’m ashamedly very well known for). But is that really true? Is a good friend someone who is so close to you that they can steal your stuff, or is a good friend someone who values you so much that they are careful and considerate with it? Now, obviously I know that on the receiving end that good friends are quick to forgive (and consequently I happen to have many good friends), but this is just one example of the idea that I don’t think friendship should be boiled down to silly sayings. I think, as a culture, that we want to believe that friendship should be easy, and that if it’s not, then it’s not true friendship (it’s interesting because we do that with marriage also), but when did we forget that the best things in life aren’t easy (I know the song says free)?
I’ve found that friendship is extremely difficult. It’s hard to maintain real relationships with people. It’s hard to try to do life together, and it’s getting even harder the more that we learn that we can get from the internet what we used to have to get from others (teaching, companionship, community, eggs…). But, I think that if you’ve ever had a really good friend, you know that it is hard to foster, and grow, and work at that friendship. We also know though, that it’s worth it right? Many people have tried to replace the treasure of good friendship with other things (the internet, pets, eggs…). It always fails though. Nothing replaces real friendship. As a matter of fact, I would go so far as to say that it’s precisely because of the fact that no earthly relationship can replace real friendship that you should strive to marry your best friend (or at least work to make your spouse your best friend).
It’s because of all this though, that I would never tell someone that just because it takes work to “get back to normal” with an old friend that you haven’t seen for a while, you can’t have ever been good friends in the first place. No, good friendships will always take work, and some will take more than others, but they will ALWAYS take work.
You should share a story of a time when a good friendship took work below in the comments.