Some times you meet someone and have an instant camaraderie. Other times you bond with someone only after a series of circumstances that keep bringing you together. Friendships can be transient, though these kinds of relationships should really be considered close acquaintances at best. The real friendships, the ones that stick, are only realized by the test of time and changing life circumstances.
Some definitions are in order to clarify things before we go any further. For the sake of reference I’ve used my Pocket Oxford Dictionary (Fourth Edition Hard Cover–one of my little treasures).
acquaintance – being acquainted (with person, fact, &c.); person(s) one knows
friend – one joined to another in intimacy & mutual benevolence apart from sexual or family love
Given those definitions I think we can all agree we have many, many acquaintances, but only a few friends if we are lucky. Because true friendship is measured in years, shared experiences, inside jokes, mutual understandings, and strict confidences, I can truly only claim three. Since we use the word friend in the place of close acquaintance, and acquaintance so seldom at all, these three women would be more aptly classified as my best friends.
So what makes them my best friends? If I were to write a book of my life each one of these amazingly brilliant women would have their very own chapter, and that still wouldn’t be enough to explain how awesome they are and how much each of them means to me. My life would be very sad indeed without Dianna, Meredith and Melinda (in order of appearance into my life).
Dianna and Meredith I met on the same day after orientation as first-years at Peace College (being an all women’s college we were using the term first-year as opposed to freshmen long before any of us had ever heard of Harry Potter). Dianna’s roommate and I had been in the same orientation group, hitting it off right away, and though that acquaintanceship didn’t develop into more, she introduced me to Dianna. While in Dianna’s room in walked Meredith, who had met Dianna the previous summer at a college prep camp. We ended up forming a tight knit group of seven, which dwindled down to the three of us by senior year.
I hate to lump the two of them together, however, I have known Dianna and Meredith the same length of time, and many of our shared experiences have been between all three of us together. Without planning it we were all pregnant with our first child at the same time only three months apart, and all three ended up giving birth to girls (we suspect Peace College put something in our water to ensure future alumni).
Melinda’s becoming a part of my life was not so instantaneous. Initially we met through our husbands at a company party. For a while (like almost two years) that’s all it was for us, seeing each other at our husbands’ company events. Slowly our families began to celebrate our children’s birthdays together as they were all about the same age. Though Melinda and I spoke at these functions, neither of us were overly friendly, and interestingly enough it was often kind of awkward.
Our friendship we really owe to our husbands, and most of that credit goes to Melinda’s husband who one day told her to get a hobby. She called me up, as I was the closest person in proximity, and asked me if I’d be interested in taking a pottery class with her–we still have not taken that class. This began our Thursday Night Ladies’ Night, which turned into a genuine friendship as we realized how much commonality we shared from college majors to parenting styles to reading preferences.
For all that we have in common, we are all very different women. This made for an interesting conversation mix when, as a total birthday surprise to me recently, we all had the chance to sit around a table for the first time together. It was kind of like Desperate Housewives meets Sex in the City. We talked about everything from work to kids to things that made our poor waiter blush. I sat there awed at my good fortune to have three of the absolute best friends I could ever dream of. And though it hasn’t all been smooth sailing in this boat of friendship (another topic, to be sure), these are the friends that stick with me. When my world quakes under my feet any one of them can be counted on to steady me again.
There is always more to say on the topic of friendship, and always room to build more friendships. What are your thoughts? What more would you like me to expound upon?