Friends are interesting creatures because each and every one of them is different, even though they share the same classification. When I say I’m “doing things with friends” each and every time I let it pass my lips I’m saying something completely different. And when I see them randomly in public there are different reactions and expectations with each one. I love the idea of friends because they’re like cards in a Rolodex. You can flip through and so many memories come back to you.
My first memory of someone I called a friend was when I was in kindergarten. I looked up to Robert and Joseph. They were both bigger than me, physically, and they had a quiet confidence that is lacking in most kindergartners. They seemed sure of themselves, and I wasn’t even remotely there, so I followed them around and tried to insert myself into their conversations. It wasn’t until later in the year that I realized they liked me being around because I was good at figuring out things. I guess my brain was analytical even then. But the point was I thought they were doing me a favor by teaching me a way to be when they appreciated the way I already was.
We were inseparable for the rest of that year, the three of us, and they helped me to value what I can bring to a friendship — my individuality. And since then that’s what I have attempted to do. Instead of trying to be like others in order to strike and maintain a friendship, I just try my best to BE myself, to show who I am from the very start so they’re not shocked when I finally show my true colors. It took me an eternity to really get it down, though, because my first instinct is to gravitate toward how the other person is, and what I think they want from me. If they like a certain type of music I tried to force myself to like the same music, even if I didn’t. If they enjoyed a type of food, I became a connoisseur of that food, even if it made me gag.
Being a good friend means being good at understanding who I am and what I want out of the friendship.
I don’t want people around me who tear others down, even if they don’t tear me down, because negative energy is detrimental to me, as a person. I don’t want people around me who don’t appreciate my nuances, and whose nuances I can’t appreciate. There are so many potential friends out there who will not just tolerate those sides of me, but who will revel along with me in them. I need that in my life. Everybody does. Being a good friend means being truthful about myself and my goals in life.
Friends help friends achieve their goals. Friends offer support at all times. They may not always agree with you, because they too are individuals, but they do always support you. They offer their shoulder, their ears, and their hearts to you when what you need is a shoulder, an ear, or a heart, and they don’t question it. Friends are precious souls who give guidance without pressure, who motivate without speaking, who understand what you’re going through because they’re right there, going through it with you.
And I love my friends, each and every one of them, because they accept my difference as I accept theirs, because it’s always give and take, but much more give. I love my friends because whenever I need them, truly need them, they’re there for me, and they know I’m there for them. I texted one of my dearest friends last night, someone I haven’t spoken to in nearly half a year, just to tell her I needed a positive thought. She texted me back almost instantly, saying “Find your peace, then stay inside of it for as long as you can.” I smiled when I read that, because no matter how much time passes, when I need any one of my friends I know they will be there, and that’s more precious than gold.