Jan 15, 2013

Four ways to know if it's a Forever Friendship...

For 28 years she has been a part of my life.


{I would post a picture of the two of us here, 
age 8, but our parents apparently
didn't take pictures of us... ever}


Twins day, I had broken my finger, so she
wrapped hers up so we could be twins!


We met at Summer School and hit it off instantly.  She likes to remind me that I bribed her to jump off the high dive with Now n Laters.  I just remember that we seemed to be made for each other.  We balanced each other.  She was strong where I was weak, I was strong where she was weak.   We went to school together from 3rd grade until 12th grade. Her name is Shelby.


She is a "forever friend", a person who has the distinction of knowing my intimate thoughts from age 12 to 16... which is really saying something (and a good reason to keep her close to me...)  We were inseparable when we were in Junior High, {when that sort of behavior is acceptable.} We had "over-nighters" every weekend and spent hours obsessing over miniscule details of conversations we had with boys.

There wasn't a day during the summer where you wouldn't find one of us strapping on our roller blades and skating to the others house.  It was that time in life where your days blur together and swimming and giggling and skating to the store seems to be all you do.  In those inconvenient times when we weren't (or couldn't be) together we were talking on the phone or sending notes to each other during class.


Winter Formal our Sophomore year
As we got older, and boyfriends began taking up our time, our friendship changed, and for a time (cough Junior and Senior year) seemed pretty non-existent... but she was always there.

Through college, we kept in touch, but rarely saw each other (though I did get a parking ticket parking in front of her apartment at Berkley).  She was a bridesmaid in my wedding and I kept close tabs on all of her education, men, jobs, life experiences...

She's married now and has a toddler and a baby on the way.  (I skipped the best parts, but this is not a post about the amazing world of Shelby... though it would be interesting reading... I tell you).  She lives across the "pond" in Switzerland and we still keep in touch, visiting when she comes home to see family.  She's trying to get me to go visit her, maybe to celebrate our 30th "frien-niversary"?

So, what is it about this friendship that stood the test of time?  It's certainly not that we have so much in common (we really don't), or go to the same church (hahaha), or that we live in the same town (we haven't for 17 years), or that our kids are the same age (no, though her step daughter is the same age as my son).  How can I reproduce this friendship that has been such a comfort and joy in my life?

I made a little list (smaller than I wanted to) to talk about what defines a "forever friendship".  Though,  I am not sure I can classify what makes some friends turn into forever friends and some friends just fade away. Though,  I can usually tell when I've found a forever friend, because we click.  

Forever Friends are committed to the friendship. Shelby and I are very different people but we love each other for who we each are and are committed to maintaining our friendship.  We have hit some bumps and snags in the road.  We've let each other down, but neither one of us were willing to toss in the towel and give up.  Somewhere in all the promises we made when we were 12 years old, we made a promise to always be friends... and it stuck.

Forever Friends are sources of unconditional love.  I don't think this is easy to come by.  I love her, because she is Shelby.  I don't care what she does or doesn't do, I have released all of my expectations and have just enjoyed the shared moments that we manage every year or so, and love the phone calls, when they come.  She is my friend.  I enjoy hearing about her life. I feel accepted by her.  I trust her implicitly.  Friends that love you right where you are (but still call you out when you aren't being a good version of you) are friends worth fighting for.

Forever Friends rejoice in the good times and mourn in the bad times. {And conveniently forget all of the crazy times.} Of the friends I would put in this category (I have 4-5), most of them have been sources of comfort and celebration during both my darkest and shiny-est times.  These are not fair-weather friends.  They've seen me at my worst and decided to stick around.  I have been that same person for them.  
 I am no perfect friend.  I freak out and say illogical things, I get mad and get confrontational, but I also can be a great cheerleader and a friend who grabs you when you are going off the rails.
I pray for my friends, which might be a category all it's own.  Spending days praying for (and with) friends makes something click inside your heart... you're invested.

Forever Friends are friends who you can laugh with (and at). Finally, I have found that every one of my forever friends have a sense of humor.  I suspect that you have to have a sense of humor to spend your life being friends with me. ;)  They can laugh at themselves, they can laugh at me and I feel safe even when they laugh at me because I know they love me.  It's hard to be friends with someone who always takes themselves too seriously, they often take me seriously too, and that leads to bad things, man, bad things. 

So there - four ways to know if your friendship will last for life.  I really can't stand by these and say that this is the only way, friendships are as unique as the people that have them.  

I do know that without these things, friendships are not nearly as much fun.

Final shout-out to my forever friends out there.  I think you know who you are!  Thankful for you!

What about you? Do you have any forever friends?  How long have you known them?  What is one thing that has kept you friends for so long?

3 comments:

  1. I haven't seen my forever friends in over 20 years. I'm thinking they aren't so forever anymore...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi AJ, how sweet. I'm just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
    http://chelencarter-retiredandlovingit.blogspot.ca/

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nice! I agree.

    Jennifer Dougan
    www.jenniferdougan.com

    ReplyDelete

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