I’ve been popular. I’ve been not-so-much. I’ve had an insanely complicated amount of friends. I’ve had three or four truly close friends.
Sitting here, in my forties, I’ve looked back at my friendolution with wonder and awe.
Elementary School – A plethora of friends. Popular among the girls because I wasn’t afraid of the boys. Popular with the boys because I was a crazy tomboy. Snakes wrapped around my wrists, climbing trees, playing kickball and racing bikes – all wearing a dress (with shorts underneath, of course.)
Middle School – Down to a few close friends. An awkward, yucky phase in my life. It suddenly wasn’t cool to like school and I still liked it. I loved it. It was my escape. So, I closed myself off and hid in the library whenever I could. Books became my true friends. Books and Stacy, Jill, Sharon and Rita, that is.
High School – Back to tons of friends again. I was on the swim team, involved in student government, sang in the choir and the select ensemble and tried out for school plays. I loved sports, so I hung with the jocks and the cheerleaders, too. I had friends in every stratosphere of high school. Being an intellectual was swinging back to cool at my school. Especially if you could help your friends with their homework.
College – The pendulum swings back to a choice few friends. But then, I was a bit obsessed with my boyfriend by this time and overwhelmed with the freedom of young adulthood and college life. My choice few friends were all I could handle.
Young adulthood and beyond – Sometimes lots of friends. Sometimes not. But I’m still not good at allowing friends to drift in and out of my life. I wonder. I obsess. What did I do wrong? Why doesn’t Lori call anymore? Why am I always the one who has to contact Drew? Why is it always tit-for-tat with Grace?
There are some friends that have drifted out that I am relieved to be rid of. Doesn’t that sound harsh? But it’s true. The psychic vampire friends. The ones who were exhausting to be around in the first place. Or the ones whose expectations I could never meet.
Then there are the friends, just a couple, that I still wonder about. Still pine for. Why did our friendship have to end? Was it something I said or did? What happened that I missed?
But through my friendolution, one truth remains the same. I have no use for the fair weather friends. To be my friend you must stick with me through thick and thin. Loyalty is paramount. Kindness is crucial. Compassion is a must. Patience and understanding will take us far. I make mistakes but I own them. I’m not afraid to apologize.
The friends who have dumped me because: I divorced. I wouldn’t gossip with you in the teacher’s lounge. I changed jobs. I moved 10 miles away. I got re-married. I had kids. I didn’t have kids. I moved out-of-state. I might as well have moved out-of-state. I wouldn’t stay at your teeny, tiny condo. I got sick and you thought I was faking it. (Seriously? What did I see in you?) I went to college. I chose to be a stay-at-home mom.
All of you?
I don’t need any fair weather friends.