For many people, their friends are like family members. Beloved and cherished friendships that bring grounding, strength, love, faith, hope, happiness and excitement to our lives. Friends can be made in so many different ways. From school, work or while waiting for a flight even. Through romantic relationships and friends of friends. Living in different places will cultivate various groups of friends that know unique parts of you. Some friends you’ve known your whole life and others since last month. Of these friends, there’s a core group that I consider family.
I always envisioned my friends and I having extravagant trips, carousing Europe and Spain together, consuming champagne on our beach front patios, enjoying the good life. Once the movie montage in my mind ran its course, the reality of friendship in my thirties settled in a bit different. Instead of extravagant trips (because we’re on budgets and saving for our future desires), we have potluck dinners every few months with Spanish wine and chit chat around the dining table, from one of our modest two bedroom apartments that we share with a roommate. Scheduling time together is a nightmare since we all have so many passions and commitments that take up our time. Our lives are jam packed with career goal pursuits, boyfriends and family events that pull us all in separate directions. The vision in my mind of us popping by each other’s homes every day for wine after a long day is quickly replaced with group texts that sometimes take us a couple days to respond to.
When I was young, my friends were the only ones I felt I could depend on. We had some amazingly fun times together coming to age, which for me during that time was a huge relief from home life. They gave me a break from the family stresses that were going on, gave me sleepovers when I needed to escape my mom’s crazy moments, fed and clothed me when I had neither. We supported each other when we needed it most.
Developing and maintaining friendships were easier then because they were such a huge part of our lives. We depended so heavily on friends as part of our day-to-day lives at school. Our lives now are filled with co-workers, colleagues, clients, nephews, siblings, kids and boyfriends. We have to make more of a point to schedule time together. But there’s one thing that maintains with good friends: Regardless of how much time has passed, good friends pick right back up where they left off without missing a beat.
So when I see one of my friends, who I consider part of that core group that is like family, announce on Instagram he’s engaged to a woman and not tell me during a catch-up phone call the week prior, to describe my amazement as shock would be an understatement. He was not only dating someone different 8 weeks prior but said he’d met “the one” several months before that with someone different. Instantly this feels off and my friendly duties kick in to high gear.
Since we’re in our thirties now, we must all be more evolved, mature, self-aware and comfortable with honesty from one another, right? What I’m learning is that for some friends this is true. They push themselves to grow, expand and mature with every added year, being loyal and supportive despite busy times, willing to speak and listen to one another with openness and transparency about their lives. But others have not seemed to live up to those values and instead meet shock and questions about their choices with avoidance, denial and anger. What this tells me is that even in our thirties, we’re all still works in progress and that some need more compassion than others.
I’ve always looked to my friends to be the ones that tell me the truth, instead of what I want to hear. Because if your friends aren’t going to tell you the truth, who will? They should be the ones that help you see things clearly when sometimes you just can’t on your own.
The situation with my friend has reaffirmed for me how much I value my friendships based on these things. From these relationships, we’ve all grown stronger, wiser and have become better people unwilling to maintain the status quo because of misguided desires or lack of self-awareness.
So, what will come of my friend and I? I guess only time will tell. I can only hope that his soon-to-be marriage is one of those rare love at first sight intuitions that produces a solid long-term marriage. Maybe one day he’ll see my genuine concern for the love that it is and hopefully appreciate my friendship for it. I’m banking on the saying, “With age comes wisdom.”
What I do know for certain is that I don’t regret pushing the thought of conflict aside to be there for my friend and ask the hard questions after shocking choices, when it matters most. I’ll never stop being the die-hard loyal, honest, trustworthy, supportive friend who values friendships that push each other to be better, through the busy times.
Now I want to hear from you on the issue of friendship. Have you ever had a situation where you saw a good friend making decisions you didn’t agree with? Join me in the comments and tell me how you approached it. Share your story on how you support your friends in tough situations, regardless of your opinion.