This has been a long period of self-examination. A reflection on the life that has already passed. An analysis of the present and a confusion, to put it mildly, of what my future holds. While useful in helping me make the necessary adjustments to get back to the things i value in life, because i have been sidetracked, it is emotionally draining. Exhausting.
A significant part of this analysis is the chapter of friends. I’ve been drawn to articles on the friends issue for this very reason. Even though we all (well, most of us) believe we have friends, we have very different ideas and definitions of what a friend is. I am not going to attempt to articulate my definition (i am already using another’s anyway) but instead have sorted my friends in 3 groups. This grouping reveals, at least i think it does, a lot about what i seek and value in friends.
The penultimate line of defence
These are the friends who know the most about me. They have intimate knowledge of what my mental and physical state is at any given time regardless of how busy their lives are. They always show an interest in what i am up to. They actively seek my company and advice. They listen as much as they talk. They watch my back. We share our successes and as well as our failures. They trust me as i trust them. This is the penultimate line of defense before my family.
These are the oldies. People i’ve known for years if not decades. With these people history is what’s keeping us together. We are friends because we used to be friends. Some of them i might not see very often anymore as our lives’ paths have diverged. Sometimes i wonder whether they think about me when i am not with them. But familiarity can be very comforting. With this group, shared history and memories outweigh the present.
Closer than they appear
As the above implies, these are the ones that based on how i often i see them and talk to them should not be counted amongst my friends. And yet they are. With some i have an explanation as to the reason why this is so while with others i honestly don’t. These are the non-regulars in my life but on the occasion that we do meet or talk we can share almost everything that’s going on in our lives. There is trust, mutual respect and a much stronger bond than our separate daily lives would suggest.
Regardless of the groups I’ve tried to fit my friends in, the best definition of who i consider a friend in my life is this:
“To put it bluntly, a friend is someone who cares about you. Not just the fact that you exist, but the fact they contribute to your existence and the quality of your existence.”