Sunday, April 27, 2008

Friends are thicker than blood...

So, today I got some slightly unsettling news. One of my best friends is moving incredibly far away from me. That got me to thinking, how big of a part do your friendships really play in your life?

I mean, okay. Obviously close friends play a huge part in one's life. I know mine do. (Here's where I get deeply personal for the first time on this blog)

So I have 4 truly best friends. We're not like a big group like on Sex and the City (though that is an influence) or like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants or anything. In fact, some of my best friends have never even met each other. I feel like each one of the represents a different phase in my life.

My best friend Christine and I have been best friends for let's see...about 22 years now. Christine is my oldest and dearest friend for sure. Seeing as how we're about one gestation period apart, we like to joke that I was born to be her best friend. Though our friendship hasn't always been consistent, we're still incredibly close and now matter how long it is that we don't see each other, or how long we don't speak, it's like time has never past when we do finally see each other again. Next would be my best friend Dana, who's been my best friend for almost 10 years now. (our 10 year "friendiversary" is coming up this august.) Now, there have been other "best" friends between Christine and Dana but obviously no one stuck for various and assorted reasons. Dana and I have known each other our whole lives, (our families were friends) but we didn't really become close until the era of the boy band, when we found a common love for Hanson, the Backstreet Boys and *NSync. We've been pretty much attached ever since. Again, I don't see Dana that often due to extenuating life circumstances, but we're still super best buds. After Dana would be Jessica, who has been my best friend (on and off) since high school. We've had our ups and downs but she has been there for me through a lot so I'm grateful to have her. I don't know I would have gotten through the end of high school without her honestly. After Jess is Linda, who has been a friend since like this time three years ago but has become a best friend in the past year. We lived together last semester while we were in LA and to say that we've gotten close is kind of an understatement. I had separation anxiety over Christmas break without her and we were only apart for a month. There is one best friend that I almost forgot, Stephanie, who became one of my best friends last semester in LA. We've become very close very quickly and she is an invaluable part of my life now.

So, I have these 5 fabulous friends who mean the world to me to say the least. I don't remember my life before these girls came into it (okay, that's not totally true but it's for effect). They each give me something that the other's don't and that's what makes each relationship so special. None of us have 100% of everything in common and that's what keeps our friendships interesting. Without Linda, I wouldn't know the joys of Asian pop music, without Dana I would have one of the most special little people in my life, without Christine, I wouldn't have gotten through my senior year of high school, without Stephanie I wouldn't have gotten through LA and without Jess, well I wouldn't get through a lot of things. Each one of them brings so much to my life that I feel full of love and happiness. In them I really couldn't ask for more. But the question I always ask is, why them? And why at the time we met? What was I lacking that they managed to fill? I mean, some I guess are obvious. Linda was one of my assistant stage managers and therefore "in charge", Jess and I had indentical schedule and Stephanie had a car.

So, I think, what would I do if any of these girls suddenly wasn't there. How would I handle my life? Who would I run to if I had a boy problem, or needed some place to stay or just needed a little bit of girl time? Friends come and go but the ones that stay are there forever.

Recently, I had a friend who I thought fit into the above category, needless to say, I was wrong. The thing that make me wonder is why didn't things work out for us when she has been a part of the above group? I mean, I know the actual reason (long and complicated. if you want to know, I'll tell you privately) but why did that happen? Why did the fates at hand decide that no, we were not meant to be friends when we had thought for so long that we would be lifelong buds. Truly bffs? Maybe it was because the fates saw something I couldn't see. Maybe they knew that she didn't fit into the above category and she needed to be removed to make room for someone who could truly be there for me and bring something invaluable to my life. I do have to say that I am grateful to the fates for realigning those stars because I'm glad that it happened now rather than 10 years from now. That would be a severe let down. I mean, it already has been a severe let down But now I'm resilient. I can bounce back from the fall, brush my butt off and get back out there.

Another thing that has always been curious to me is how someone who you once called a "best friend" can go to merely a good friend just as quickly as they became a best. Part of me likes to think that what demotes one from best to good is a lack of communication over time that disintegrates the relationship. Like when you go from talking every day to maybe only talking once a month as you can notice the visable change it has on your conversations. I mean, I have friends who I used to be able to talk to for hours and now after ten minutes, it feels like there is nothing to say. Or I just don't talk to them anymore. The extent of our friendship is now being in each other's top friends on Myspace. What does that mean? How can you go from having everything to nothing to say? It is honestly bizarre.

It just makes me think about all of the best friends that have come and gone. Of course, when you're young, you don't always know what's best for you and you become friends with someone, not seeing them for who they really are. I mean, how could you at the age of eleven? What do you even know about that? I don't even talk to most of the same people I talked to when I was eleven. Hell, I barely talk to most of the same people I talked to when I was 20. I'll never understand what happens to make people decide that they no longer wish to be friends but it happens every day doesn't it?

Personally, I'd rather just stop talking to someone all together rather than pretend to be someone's friend knowing that is a reason I shouldn't be. I've seen people who will have a fight with a friend (a very serious one) and hate that friend with every fiber of their body only to be speaking to them again a few days later. I mean, what's the point of backpeddling on your feelings? If you're really hurt, that should be it. Maybe I say this because I don't always believe in second chances. I mean, Jess and I weren't speaking for quite a bit of time but there was a force bigger than us that pushed us back together. It's called space (in our case anyway). But I don't know, when a friend really hurts me, I can't imagine saying "sure, that's not a problem. even though I'm telling people I'll never talk to you again, I'll talk to you." If you're done, be done completely.

And I know that when things get hard, I can always pick up the phone or come to my computer and one of those girls will be there with a sympathetic ear, a good hug and maybe a bottle of wine. We'll laugh, we'll be angry, and we'll work our way through whatever the problem is. Life after college, school, parents, distance, boys, whatever it else it is that you talk about with your girlfriends. Those are the moments I'm most grateful in life for. Because in those moments, you see how amazing friends really are.