Weekly Reflection 12.25: On Friendship

As I write this, Milo is blowing bubbles in his water bowl the way little kids do in the pool when they first learn to swim. I love this dog! He reminds me of the importance of blowing bubbles in my drink, which I will do next time I have a straw in my chocolate milk!

This week somewhere I read that if a friendship lasts seven years, psychologists say it’ll last forever (and since the internet is always right…). This quote immediately made me start calculating some of my best and longest friendships. I have a few going strong that are only a couple weeks old, I have another that is a solid five, several at six, and I’m proud to say that I have two strong friendships that are now a decade old. Though there may be more friendships from high school and junior high that may be strong, I have not been in touch with any of these friends as much as I have been in touch with these two girls. That being said, I feel that if I were to run into a handful of these girls somewhere and we started chatting, it’d be like good old times. So who knows! Maybe I have even more of these strong friendships than I’ve realized! So oh high school friends, if you’re reading this, don’t hate me! I’d love to see you sometime and catch up! And thanks for reading!

Anywho…growing up, I moved around A LOT. With all this moving, I learned at a very young age what it was like to lose connections with close friends. The first round of loss was after two years in the states. At this point we still thought we’d be going back to our house in Jerusalem in a year. But my parents, knowing that I would pick Hebrew back up quickly once I was immersed in it, focused little on my Hebrew skills in those first few years. As such, eventually I couldn’t communicate with my Israeli friends, and they could not communicate with me. I lost some ofmy closest friends at the young age of nine.

As we continued moving, I continued losing friends slowly. Every time I would leave we would promise each other we would stay in touch. But such a thing is a lot of responsibility for someone so young. And eventually these great friendships crumbled.

Then came Massachusetts. The first place where I saw that friendships could fail even without an unimagined move. At first this was hard for me to accept. I think I always gladly explained away my failed friendships with the moves. But now that I didn’t have moves to fall back on, I was suddenly unsure what to do. I was sure that I was somehow a failure. That I was not a good friend.

Well now that I have managed to hold on to some friendships for a solid amount of time, I consider myself somewhat of an expert (just kidding guys, it actually says in my notebook “I can’t say I’m an expert of friendship” I just like to break from my own script sometimes). That being said, I’d like to share with you some of the cool things I’ve observed with these decade old friendships and others that I suspect will make the seven year mark.

  1. Both parties have to be invested. I know this may seem obvious, but I can’t say how many times I thought I could single-handedly keep a friendship going. Eventually, though, when one realizes they are not a priority for the other person, the friendship generally crumbles. This is sad, but inevitable, and allows  you to expend energy on those friendship that are healthy and mutually beneficial.
  2. A friendship must continue developing, growing, and changing or it will die. Now, just to be clear, it is our responsibility to push friendships forward, it won’t just happen on its own. With pretty much all of these friendships, I can point to this point at which we crossed a line and could never turn back. This year it happened twice. I was having a conversation with a friend, we bridged a new topic, both acknowledged that our friendship had entered new territory, and continued happily chatting away.
  3. There is no formula for a successful friendship. No two friendships are alike. For example, my relationship with these two friends from high school, differ from one another. I’m sure their relationship with each other is also different from each of their relationships with me. I have some friends that I see in person at least once a year and some that I’ve only seen via skype in years.
  4. You have to share values on some level. This doesn’t mean you have to agree on everything. In fact I hope you don’t. That would make for some boring-ass friendships. But on some level there has to be an agreement, otherwise I’m not sure it can last!
  5. Appreciation is key. Make it clear to these friends how much their friendships mean to you. Do it however you want. It doesn’t have to be kitchy or cheesy, just make sure they understand.

So that’s it! Do you find these to be true for your closest friendships? I hope this holiday season you look around you and realize how lucky you are. I think the thing with friendships and all relationships outside the family, include some level of luck. I mean think how you met some of these people in the first place. How random was that?!

Merry Christmas!

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