I've been thinking about friendship a lot this year.
It started with people trying to convince me to axe someone out of my life because they really didn't live up to being a true friend. Then, the topic popped back into my world as I thought about the shifts in my network for friend and how these shifts are ever evolving as our individual life circumstances change. Another facet of friendship that is ever present in my mind is the dynamic of long-term friends - I have quite a few of these. Lastly, I've thought a lot about how people make friends and what happens when one chapter of your life closes and another one begins.
These are just a few of the things I plan to talk about on this blog as I feel appropriate....
Tonight, the thing that is most on my mind is the vetting process that takes place when I begin a new friendship. Once upon a time, it wasn't a very thorough process. Though I was particular about who I called a friend, I wasn't as particular as I am today.
I find it interesting when I see people who instantly consider someone a friend after spending just a few hours with them. I understand building a rapport with someone, but in my world laying out the welcome mat and baking a batch of cookies so they will potentially stay awhile after I let them in the door takes some time.
For better or worse, this is a result of my experience with bad seeds. I've trusted some people I shouldn't have, and as a result got burned - badly. When I really think about it, to me those I call friends are a reflection of the person I am, or even aspire to be.
Additionally, this vetting process I speak of has also come about after understanding that I want the people that I call friends to be those people I truly feel a genuine connection to, and individuals who genuinely feel a connection to me. Like any relationship, friendship is a two-way step. If one end is barricaded then you're not going to get through to the other side.
For a long time I was envious of those that knew everyone. At every turn they would see someone else they knew. As I got older I started to question the quality of those friendships. Can you really have a mass quantity of friends and still maintain the quality of the relationship? The answer I've come to is no. Now, don't get me wrong, I know my fair share of people, but I don't call all of them my friend.
All this is mainly on my mind because of a conversation I had last night with S about her move to the area and the process of making new friends. It made me stop for awhile about what I would do if I had to start over in a new city. (Something I really don't want to think about.) Overall, I the thing I appreciate the most with the individuals I call friends today is that they patiently waited-out the vetting process. Or, for that matter, I had to make it through their vetting process as well.
In the end, I can sincerely say everyone I call a friend is someone I'm proud to know and would, without hesitation, say represents me a part of who I am.