When you grow up, one of the biggest lessons you learn is that you don’t have as many friends as you previously believed.
Those friends, who you once thought were the most important people in your life, eventually go away. The phone calls stop. The e-mails get much more infrequent. Soon, your relationship is reduced to “liking” their cheesy Facebook status updates and occasionally receiving a mass text (i.e. “Merry Christmas! I love you all!”).
Remember your friend who used to sleep over all the time in elementary school? She’s living in Florida now, with her husband and new baby. She might remember how you wore “best friends forever” necklaces in 1995, but she also barely remembers your last name.
Remember your close friends in high school who hung out at your house practically every single day? You told your deepest and darkest secrets to them. You swore you would always be friends. Well, they’ve scattered across the Midwest, married or single, living lives that don’t involve you any more. Once in a while, one of them will write something on your Facebook wall like “I’m coming into town next weekend-we should hang!” and yes, you will hang with them that weekend, but realistically you’ll stop catching up with them some time in your mid-thirties.
Remember those dear college friends? You held their hair while they puked and you crashed on their couch a million times after parties. You were always there for each other through break ups, unbearable final exams, and unplanned pregnancies. You cried the day of graduation. They move on as well. They get jobs, get married, and move to other cities. Eventually, their kids will take up most of their time and if you’re lucky you will see them once or twice again before you’re 80, and spend most of that time reminiscing about how great college was and remember that one time….?
Don’t worry. You’ll still have friends. Friends you meet at work. Friends you meet through other friends. But many of them will go away too after a while. It’s life. You laugh and smile and enjoy spending time together, but then they move on. It’s the bitter realization.
But honestly, this post wasn’t meant to be bitter or upset.
I am just at a stage in my life where this discovery has become a reality. It is a reality, however, that comes with a somewhat happy ending.
Friends come and go, but only true ones last forever.
Most of us will have one true friend. Others will have two or three. These are friends who may live in your town, or may not. These are friends who know you like the back of their hand. They visit as often as they can. They call you often to catch up. Your children will grow up knowing each other. If you’re ever in serious trouble or in a bad situation, they will do whatever they can to help. They care about you. They love you. It’s a bond more personal than family because you created it together. Because true friendship isn’t about who shares your blood or who you’ve known the longest. It’s about who came, and never left your side.
I think I have a friend like that. If I’m lucky, I’ll be right.