Friday, July 15, 2011

No Two Friends Alike

I’ve been thinking this week about friendship and all its different forms.

I used to think all our friends fall into different categories and sub categories, kind of like books and genres. We might have best friends with whom we share everything, who we don’t always spend a lot of time with (but sometimes do), but who we know we can always count on unconditionally.

Then we might have close friends, who are just a little different than best friends in that they know a lot about us and we know a lot about them, and we probably spend a lot of time together (or at least talking or emailing, or whatever) but with whom we also have boundaries.

Then there are regular friends we like to see, love to spend time with and visit, but who don’t really know us like our close or best friends do. And vice versa.

Below that, we have acquaintances, who we know, who we enjoy seeing and talking to and getting to know better, but who aren’t the first people we think of when someone mentions the word friend.

Theoretically, that list sounds like a good way to classify the non-family people in our lives. Then logically, we have all kinds of sub groups, and sometimes it takes some work to figure out who belongs where in the file-folders of your heart.

Except I’ve recently discovered one problem to this way of thinking. People don’t always fit in file folders. We are emotional, and illogical, and commonsensical—but not. We are dreamers, and thinkers, and feelers whose moods and situations and family and jobs all affect who we are and why we love them or why they love you.

There is no safe way to categorize a friendship. So the best thing you can do is to stop trying and just let the people in your life be who they are and love them while you can. And if the day comes when you’re not as close as you once were, feel lucky that you had as much time as you did and be grateful to them for that time. Or maybe you’re closer than before. In that case, feel lucky for that.

Some friendships are worth fighting to keep, and sometimes we’re better off letting go and moving on. It’s all about what’s most healthy for both people involved. Just as love is a gift, so is friendship. And everyone appreciates it differently.

And people, I’m so grateful for all my amazing friends—no matter what category in which they fit. Or not.


Matthew MacNish said...

I think you make a good point. People are people, and every single one is completely unique.

Karen Hoover said...

Nichole, after reading your beautiful message, I just had to let you know how much I admire and love you. You have such a kind heart and the things you have done for me do not go unnoticed or unremembered. I may not be the kind of friend you see every day, but if you ever need me, I'll be there for you, no matter what. That's a promise.