“Friends. How many of us have them. Friends. Ones we can depend on. Friends. How many of us have them. Friends. Before we go any further let`s be friends!”
If you’re older than 30 it won’t take you long to start singing the rest of this song: Friends by Whodini https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vxni-FM-UVA. This has always been one of my favourite songs, because I take friendship seriously.
As a kid, I had a lot of small ‘f” friends. These were most of my classmates; people whose birthday parties I went to; the ones I played with at recess and walked to and from school with. I didn’t go home with them unless we had a project to work on. And even then, my mom preferred to have them come to our house, especially if she didn’t know the parents. Something I find myself doing with my children, too. Can never be too safe.
I also had at least one capital ‘F’ friend, at various times in my life. This was my closest friend; my BFF, as they say these days. This was the person who knew my deepest, darkest secrets…well, some of them anyway. The one who got to sleep over after all the other party guests went home. The one I KNEW would always be my Best Friend FOREVER, no matter what happens. My Maid of Honour, my kid`s Godmother, the whole nine yards.
Well, as we all know, stuff happens. Things change, people change. You argue, someone moves away, you grow up and no longer see eye to eye on issues that were trivial when you were children, but that have now become non-negotiable as teens or adults.
I’ve gone through a few Besties over time. And may I just say, that it wasn’t because of anything that I had done. I have a feeling that you’re reading this, and rolling your eyes, and saying, ‘no, of course it had nothing to do with you’. Honestly, though, I can sit here and say, without a doubt, it wasn’t my fault.
Except. When I think it over, perhaps I was at fault. The fault lay in my approach to friendship. Because, you see, I am fiercely loyal when it comes to my friends. Once I feel comfortable with a person, after an unspecified amount of time, I’m all in. If you need anything, name it, I’m there for you. Money. Time. Advice. A shoulder to cry on. You want it, you got it, day or night. And believe me, I lived up to it many times. So where’s the fault in that, you ask. The fault was in my expectation of reciprocation. Yeh. I was actually naïve and trusting enough to think, nay, to expect, that my friends would treat me the same way I treated them. Wow! What a concept! Do unto your friends as you would have them do unto you. Made sense at the time.
But the older I got, the thinner became the fabric of the friendships I had as they stretched over time and space, and little by little they frayed and snapped. I was always the one who tried to keep it all going, once I realized that things were falling apart. I called. I emailed. I texted. If I’d had a driver’s licence I would have visited. But to circumvent that, I invited. Nada. Nought. Nothing.
It broke my heart. For me, adult friendship should be no different from those of children. they should be strong and vital and FOR LIFE. Alas, I have had to come to the sad conclusion that no such thing exists, at least not for me.
So I’ve learned to find contentment in the FFN, the Friend For Now. I’ve also learned to stop expecting too much from people, and more importantly, not to offer so much of myself. When you’re in the car going top speed on the highway, its fun to put your hand out the window and just let it flap about. Fun. But dangerous. You could get hurt. Badly. I no longer stick my hand out of the friendship car window. I keep myself safe inside, with the window half up half down. I’m mature and seasoned enough to know that you can have a meaningful relationship with a person, without it being overly meaningful, if that makes sense….
Would I like to have a BFF, of course. I go green with envy when i see my mother and her Bestie from childhood days, both now in their early 70`s. This is what I had in my mind, what i strived towards when I had my first bosom buddy back in Junior High. But part of growing up is learning to adjust one’s expectations to fit the reality of the situation. I’m lucky to say I have a couple of good FFN’s. And that’s alright by me. At least for now.