Friendship is a hard thing. I mean, honestly, it is. We put so much of ourselves into these people and we expect them to reciprocate. To keep secrets. To show love. To not judge. To give advice. To live in our corner. We have all of these ideal situations that we picture our friends being in and all of the perfect ways that they should react to any news, and we don’t exactly know how to take it when they don’t live up to the expectation. In a way, I usually think that keeping friendships is a lot harder than staying in a romantic relationship. Do you ever think about just how many friends that you’ve had in your lifetime? And I don’t mean quick friendships that last a month and then fizzle away as you get tired of one another. I only have a handful of people who I can honestly say are true friends. I think that’s true for most of us, and I think it bothers us just a little.
Today one of my very best friends came back to our hometown. We met up like we usually do and I found myself thinking about how kind of beautiful it is that we have the friendship that we do. I think it’s a rare thing to find someone who you mesh with so completely well (romantic relationships aside) that you would drive hours just to spend an evening together. I feel like it’s so common to just expect our friends to put themselves out there and make all of the effort while we just sit and wait for the fun times. And that just doesn’t work. In the same way that a romantic relationship takes communication and versatility, a friendship does too. So many of us seem to forget that and then find that we don’t have any actual friends to turn to.
Macie (friend) and I have this wonderful type of understanding where we can go weeks, even months, without speaking and it’s okay. We’re both in college at different universities, in different sororities, with different lives. It’s expected that we can’t keep in touch every single day, or even every week. But, when we do find time to call each other or to drive home and spend the day together it’s like we never left. We carve out time for each other and make sure to understand the fact that we lead different lives. In friendships today I see so many people get petty or jealous or just upset that their “friend” didn’t come and see them, or didn’t tell them some news. Friendship doesn’t work like that. Understanding is so, so vital if you want to have a successful friendship.
As Macie and I laid sideways on my bed and caught each other up on everything that had happened since we last found ourselves here, I thought about how simple it actually is. Here we were in my childhood bedroom staring up at the ceiling that still has glow-in-the-dark stars plastered on it, anticipating graduating college and getting married. We’ve made it through so many milestones in our lives and, somehow, we still ended up here, in this room. Great friendships don’t come often, and they don’t always last. As someone who needs people in my life pretty consistently, I’m glad that I realized that. I’m glad that I stopped expecting the world from my friends so that I could actually have real relationships with them. I decided that these people deserve better than me taking more than I give. I think that the key to successful friendships is realizing that. Realizing it, and putting it into practice so that the people important to you can see it.
Someone asked me how Macie and I have had such a good friendship for so long, and this is my answer. It’s not hard, but its important. Friendships deserve so much more of our effort because they are so very rare. They are our comfort and our home when we get buried in life. They are the people we turn to when everything else seems to be too much, so they have earned more effort than we are used to giving.