In this crazy, mixed-up, out of control world, I couldn’t get by without a little help from my friends. Like you I’m sure, my closest friends are the people who have been there for me when I was at my best and who stuck around when everything was falling apart.
And as much as I hate to say it, as you grow older, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep in touch with others. Long gone are the days of hanging out in your dorm room, Friday afternoon movie dates, meeting up after class, and getting together every weekend. We tend to fall into our own habits and routines that start including more of the things you have to do (ahem – work, sleep, laundry, etc.) and some of the things you want to do (half marathon training, reading, etc.). There is increasingly less time to spend carefree hours just being together, doing whatever it is that young adults do.
As we get older, time becomes a much more valuable commodity – there are never enough hours in the day. You find out who is going to be a friend for life because they make the effort to call you, text you, and visit you. It’s sort of like saying, “My time is valuable and I choose to spend it on you.”
Though the majority of my closest friends live 3,000 miles or so away from me, we still make an effort to be in contact with each other if not daily, at least weekly. Social media has made these long-distance friendships much easier to manage. We can keep up with each other on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and my favorite, Snapchat. But is that really enough?
I believe it’s so important to honor your friendships in ways that go above and beyond. Let your friends know – “Hey! You mean the world to me and I’m glad you’re in my life. I appreciate you.” I am not the perfect friend, by far. Sometimes I wait too long between phone calls, texts, and Skype sessions to get back to my friends and for that, I am so sorry.
I am fortunate enough to be able to make trips back and forth to my home state several times a year and most of my friends have the means and time to come visit me or take other trips with me as well. Though I no longer have the privilege of seeing these people daily, the distance is, I daresay, a blessing in disguise. I have come to value the time we do get to spend together in-person much more than I would if I saw them more often.
Some of my friends and I have taken to sending each other care packages. It’s a fun thing to do every so often that lets your friend know you’re thinking about them and to spoil them a little. It’s also great fun to send – and receive – a surprise package.
One friend and I obsess over Dance Moms together. It’s the only reality TV show I watch regularly and I love it. As she is on the east coast and I’m on the west, she gets to watch it before I do. My Tuesday evenings are typically filled with reaction texts from her and I get to send her my reactions the next day (since I don’t have cable, I watch it online). So even though we aren’t watching it together, we still get to share in our love of Dance Moms.
I also think it’s important to honor your friends in non-material ways as well. It doesn’t always have to be about an exchange of things or spending money. You can honor your friends by learning from their best qualities. It shows how they have impacted you, your life, and helped you grow into a better person.
Personally, I try to surround myself with people who make me a better person. Is that selfish? Maybe. But it’s also a two-way street. Your friends want you around because you make them better, too. Relationships, romantic or platonic, work because both people want to be there. There is no way around that.
I am forever amazed by one of my closest friend’s ability to stay out of conflict. It seems to me as though she lives by the core principle: if you have a problem with me, it’s your problem, not mine. In the five years I have known her, she has never once engaged in an unnecessary, exacerbating battle. She simply walks away.
I have another friend who is constantly on the move. She seeks challenge and adventure at every turn and I could not be more in awe of her. She doesn’t like to be bored and is always looking for opportunities to better herself or further her career. She could not be more fantastic.
I feel very lucky to have people in my life who are so unique and inspiring.
I love you guys.
Who are your best friends? How do they inspire you? How do you give back to your friends?