“A friend loves at all times.” Proverbs 17:17
‘Friendship’ as a blog topic is one that I’ve been mulling over for some time now. It is a subject which I have touched on and alluded to, but never really concentrated solely on in a post before. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write about it, I just hadn’t yet found the right inspiration, I suppose. Today as I considered it once again, I found this quote and it immediately stuck with me: A true friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words (Anonymous). I like the idea of friendship being a song and finding a place in the heart.
Friends come in all variances and really, a friend is a friend. I don’t really think that there are better or worse types of friends. A friend is really a gift from God. That being said, I’ve come to think that there are certain categories of friends that many might have in their lives. I hesitate in classifying or generalizing too much because many of us will fit into more than one of the “friend” categories that I’ve listed, but I’m willing to share my thoughts:
“Forever Friends” – these are the ones that you’ve known the longest and have been friends with, literally, forever. Even though your lives, habits, and preferences change, these friends are friends that you hang on to. Maybe it’s because they remind you of many happy memories of the past, or maybe it’s that they know too much for you to ever not be their friend! In any case, forever friends are the meat that sticks to your ribs. These are the ones that you can pick up with exactly where you left off, even if it’s months or years later. Three hour conversations over coffee, poutine, and pie or hanging out talking in a backyard; these are the friends that even when life changes, they never change in your heart.
“Kindred Spirits” – these are the friends that you make an immediate connection with, whether you’ve known them for years or you’ve just really met. Kindred spirits are the friends who share your opinions, your values, and your interests. They may even look at things the same way you do, whether it be how to solve a problem or strategies for dealing with a difficult person or situation. Kindred spirits view life from a similar lens as you, whether it is with rose-coloured glasses or a magnifying glass. Kindred spirits also help you figure out whether “it is what it is” or whether “it is what I am going to make it to be”.
“Live-Life-In-The-Moment Friends” – this category of friends are the ones you can call up when you are craving fun and adventure. They usually have something on-the-go, or are up for doing anything. You may not share your deep, dark secrets with the live-life-in-the-moment friends, but you do enjoy their loyalty, company, and fun-loving attitude towards life. These friends remind you that life is about living, not just getting by.
“Friends as Family, Family as Friends” – these friends are the ones who feel like family, whether they are in actuality or not, and includes family who are your friends as well. They are the friends that you refer to as “your sister from another mister” or “your brother from another mother”, or your “friend first, relative second”. With these friends a strong, blood-like bond is formed, in that you support, defend, and are ‘there for’ them as if they really were your blood relatives. These friends may also be church family members, or friends who share your faith and beliefs. They can, of course, include forever friends and kindred spirits as well. I like to think that these friends fill a void in your life where your family is not able to and are also family who you are blessed to also call friends.
“The Best of Friends” – friends like these are gems to find. Friends who become your best friends are the ones who accept you without question. These friends are the keepers of the deep and dark moments of your life, but NEVER remind you of them. They are the ones you call, text, or email at any moment to share the good, the bad, and the ugly. They laugh with you, cry with you, and walk with you along the road of life. Best friends cheer for you, even when they know you’re going to lose, constructively criticize and challenge you when you need feedback, and lovingly redirect when you are going astray. The best of friends are ones that look out for your well-being, as well as their own, and protect and defend your family as theirs. These friends don’t judge you when you fail or fall short of your own goals and forget your song, instead they offer you a hand to help you up and get you back on your feet again. Those who are the best of friends hold your hand when you are weak and offer strength to support you in the best and worst of times. (The best of friends can also be people who also fit into all the categories above as well.)
I’ve realized that while there are several different categories of friends, there is a common thread amongst all types of friendships. We were put on this Earth together to help, support, and love one another. We have truly given gifts from God – friends to help us along life’s way. True, not all friendships will be healthy and good for us all of the time. We have also been given discerning minds and strong judgment skills to realize when a friendship needs to be loosened or released.
Friendship is a two-way street: it takes two willing individuals to put forth effort and time to equally be a friend to one another. True friendship is also about honesty and trust; without those two key elements a friendship is shaky at best. Friendship should never be about convenience or taking advantage. Friendship should be considered a revered responsibility, not an opportunity. Friendship is also about acceptance – accepting and loving someone as a friend, flaws and all. Being a friend should always be about mutual respect, equitable trust, and appreciative love.
A final thought: A strong friendship doesn’t need daily conversation; it doesn’t always need togetherness. As long as the friendship lives in the heart, true friends will never be apart. (Anonymous) Some days we may forget the song in our heart, or maybe there are days when we don’t even want to remember it, a true friend will keep singing it until, eventually, we start to hum along.
(Dear Readers, I can honestly say that I truly value each and every friendship in my life, but I will admit that some days I fall short in showing it. I know that I am not always the “perfect friend”. I get caught up in my own life, my own worries, and my own “issues” so to speak, that I sometimes forget to check in with others, to reach out to others, and to let people in to help and be helped. I think I have a really good idea of what a true friend is, but I am in no way claiming that I am that model of excellence, in all places, at all times. Thank you for accepting me without judgment and for your friendship, love, and support! Yours, ~ K ~)