Do You Wanna Be My Friend?

Recently, I had an email conversation with two of my friends about friendship. The topic of conversation was how hard it really is to make friends as adults. I hadn't really thought about it all that much until I received the email, and then I grabbed a cup of coffee and decided I would ponder it for a few minutes. Because, well, it's what I do, I ponder things. I used to quickly come to conclusions, but that was back in the old days. Now, it takes me a little longer to come to terms with how I feel about things. As a person who has lived in multiple places in her adult life, I certainly appreciate how hard it can be to make friends. But, why is this?

As a young child, the criteria to become someone's friend was not extensive. Will you play in the mud with me and build forts? Will you refrain from pulling my pigtails and not make fun of my secondhand clothing? And if I think a boy is cute, will you keep my secret? Okay, we can be friends! Now let's pinkie swear...

As a teenager, the criteria gets a little more stringent. There's the whole popularity factor and, of course, the typical high school cliques. Don't pretend you have no idea what I'm talking about. You know exactly what I mean. The band geeks, the tech nerds, the jocks and the cheerleaders, the pretty people. Throughout the course of our high school careers, we all fall into one of these categories, and our friendships are formed based on these "labels". (I'm sure that all of these "cliques" have changed since I was in high school, but I'm sure that a majority of my readers have the same ideas of "cliques" that I do. Many of these friendships for me didn't last past high school. We all went our own ways, and did our own things.

Post high school is where we start forming real friendships. The kind that may or may not last past our twenties. We're a little more mentally developed, our personalities are closer to what they will be for the rest of our lives, and frankly, we're just a little more grown up. It was in my twenties that I formed several friendships that I really thought would last me my entire life, but then I hadn't counted on cancer. Yes, I get it, having a friend with a bald head is really a lot to swallow.

And finally, there are our adult friendships. I have learned in the last few years that these friendships were not based on the things that I thought that they would be. My cancer diagnosis brought distance in friendships that I thought would never end, and strengthened others. Our friends in our "adult" life are based on common interests, our personalities, and the kind of friend that we are. We all learn that friendships don't always come in the packages that we think we're going to find them in. Sometimes, our best friendships come from places that we weren't really looking.

Of course, since I always try to be blatently honest, I am speaking from experience here. Recently, I've come to notice that sometimes the "common interest" that brings two people together, can also be the interest that breaks two people apart. Alternatively, sometimes we find that the "common" interest isn't really all that held the relationship together and even when that common interest vanishes, the friendship goes on.

Over the last two years, I have come to care very deeply for people that I really did not know that well previously. But, thier constant support whether it be in the form of a tiny little favor, a kind word, or a laugh just when I needed it most, has made those friendships priceless. I used to think that in order to be friends with someone you had to see them all the time. Well, sure, that it certainly nice, but because of schedules and logistics sometimes that doesn't always work out they way that we would like. As it turns out, just because two people don't live close to one another or see each other as often as they would like, doesn't mean that they don't have an amazing friendship.

I really would have missed out on some amazing friendships if I had discounted people just because maybe I would never have the opportunity to meet them, or have dinner with them. Some days, it's just enough to know that there are people out there that love you no matter what, and it's the added motivation you need to get out of bed in the morning.

Unfortunately, sometimes things have to come to an end. As I mentioned earlier, my cancer diagnosis weeded out my friendship patch. And I guess that is okay, because for every friend I lost, I gained 2 more. I strongly believe that if they couldn't be supportive of me as I went though the most challenging event of my life, that they weren't really friends to begin with. And hey, if you haven't already noticed, I've got a lot to offer as a friend. I'm witty, silly, funny, and I get into a lot of trouble. I've got valuable life experience, I always tell it like it is, and I'm as honest as the day is long. I've also got great fashion sense, and I'm a little bit like Martha Stewart, so I'm always willing to help you pick out paint... So, if you can't handle that.... well it's okay, I've always got Duke. It's not for everyone. We all have things to offer to those that want to be our friends, in sunny weather, and rainy weather.

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