One of the major things that we learn as we grow older is the true meaning of friendship.
I see posts or memes on Facebook all the time that try and define friendship. Memes that say true friends can go years without speaking and pick up where they left off as if nothing happened.
I think that is all complete bullshit.
Real friends wouldn’t go that long without speaking. Real friends will always find a way or reason to check in or talk to you. Sure times can get busy, sometimes days or a week or two can pass, but a real friend will take 2 minutes to pick up a phone and say hello.
The past 12 years of my life I’ve had friends come and go. Very few have remained constant. I understand that as we grow older, we can also grow apart from our friends. Same goes for our romantic relationships as well. Sometimes our interests change, or we change as a whole. Some of us may grow up, some of us may remain young at heart. Having a baby at 19 had caused me to grow up quite a bit, leaving a lot of my high school friendships behind. While I was pregnant and stuffing my face, my friends were in college, becoming teachers, photographers, etc.
I’m sure it must have been strange to have a friend that was a constant party and a ton of fun to just being a ton. I get it, really I do. No one wants to hang with the pregnant, gassy, tired chick. The one that when you try to tell her about your night out, launches into how bad the heartburn she had last night was, or how she can feel the baby’s head pushing on her yahoo. It’s a bit of a turn off, to say the least… So to the friends I have lost during that time-I get it, no harm no foul.
Fast forward a few years and I have a toddler. Running, talking, destroying, no-ing, and so on and so forth. Meeting with friends during this time became a guessing game. Will I be able to make it through lunch without a tantrum? Can we find a child friendly restaurant? I know you want a drink, but if we go to “Friendly’s” it will be more family oriented.. Yes, I understand those friendships growing apart too.. Because as you tell me about the great sex you had the night before ( using euphemisms so my daughter won’t start talking dirty ), I’m busy telling my child to cut it out, wiping the ice cream off their face, or I’m in the process of trying to find her shoes and socks she kicked off during the meal, underneath the table where every toddlers meal goes to die.
Yes, I get it, and don’t blame you one bit for moving on..
Fast forward another few years and Hey! Look at that, I have more freedom now, I can go out more, and I’m not constantly chasing a walking, talking tornado. I can listen now, and have a good time again. I can go out dancing, have a few drinks, and I can even talk about my life! There’s more to talk about now other than my child’s eating and sleeping habits, or the last episode of The Biggest Loser. I’m the old Jenn again. The fun Jenn.
But here’s the thing- I always was that Jenn. I grew up a bit, but I never stopped being me. I envied my friends that could go out and not have to be awake at 6am for an infant, but I never cut them off, if anything I silently reached out.
Now that I’m 31, I’m experiencing more. I’ve had a lot of fun, but also a lot of heartache. I was diagnosed with two different lifelong illnesses that can keep me home, cause me to cancel plans last minute, or ruin my night at the drop of a dime. I know those things can put stress on a friendship because I’ve gotten the hints when my friends put up statuses on facebook about being blown off, or vent to other friends about how I’m never around or can’t stick to plans. “Oh I’m sorry, is my illness making YOUR life harder? I was just really looking forward to spending my night on the couch in pain rather than go to the show I planned on seeing”. Funny that those same friends that got angry at my illness, were the same ones that disappeared during my pregnancy. Also funny that if they were sick or going through something, I was always the one to call and check in. Never did I think they were blowing me off.
I’ve always been one to vocalize my feelings or my frustrations. I know that holding things in can only create inner conflict. The friends that I’ve trusted know of my struggles, and I know of all theirs. Not once have I turned my back on them, not once have I judged them. Did I show concern, or silently dislike their choices they make? Yes. But never did I abandon them. Friends are there to listen, to comfort, not to judge, and not to bash.
Everyone has their definition of what they feel a friend is. For me, it’s quite simple- A friend is someone that even in your stupidest moment, will stand by you, regardless of their feelings. A friend is someone that you can confide in, someone you can trust with your darkest secrets. A friend is someone that will love you, even if they strongly dislike you for a period of time. A friend will always be there, through thick and thin, no matter what.
So when you happen to stumble upon this blog, ask yourself: Am I a friend? You may be surprised at your answer.