With the advent of Facebook it seemed to me that we created a new definition for the word friend. I have always regard a true friend as something rare, special and nurtured. This now seems to be a word that you now applied to people you may not even know or actually cultivate any relationship other than you allow them to read what you post on the internet.
This casual use of “friend” has been driving me nuts. I have only a few friends. I call them my lifetime friends. Others call them best friends. These friends are people who have known me for years and seen me through the good times and bad. They have seen me at my worst and encouraged me to weather it and become better. They have told me to straighten up when no one else would. They have cried tears of sorrow and tears of joy with me. They are the person that I would put my life on hold for if they needed me and I know they would do the same for me. They are that person who laughs with me knowing I have an odd sense of humor. We can go away on a trip together a enjoy every minute of it. We can be together and silence is just fine. The people were my friends in my 20’s, evolved with me in our 30’s, make life changing decisions in our 40’s and still know and love me in my 50’s.
Though geography separates us now, when I see them it is like we just were together last week, thought sometimes it is more than a year. We pick up just where we left off. I only have a few of these friends. These special people who know me well, sometimes they are my conscience who make me see myself, the way no one else can. They are people who I have an invested relationship with. They are the folks with whom we can truly be ourselves. We are friends, lifetime friends.
All the rest are just casual friends, social acquaintances, co-workers, a person in your yoga class, fellow volunteer, a person you met at a party, a stranger on the internet….. Someday if they are lucky one of these people may become a lifetime friend, but it will take time, and commonality of life and values.