Good Friends are hard to come by. As we get older, they are even harder to find and keep. No, sorry all our Facebook friends and Instagram followers don’t count. Actual friends happen the old-fashioned way – face to face time together to connect, phone calls reviewing each others’ lives and reciprocation of support for one another.
As I have gotten older, all my friends have kids and work obligations. Since we are no longer in our 20s, time is precious and the allocation of time is therefore limited. Of course families and kids must come first, so whatever time is left needs to be well-spent.
I’ll admit I have not always been a great friend. In fact, this is something I am always working on. When I was younger, I didn’t hesitate to cancel plans if something better came along, or if I just plain didn’t feel like holding up the act of social activity. In my early 30s, I was very independent and really enjoyed doing and experiencing things in solitude. In a lot of ways, I am still like that. Also in my early 30s, I was a little obsessive about the types of food I would eat and when – I would eat foods without any oil or fat, strict vegetarian. In fact, all foods had to be steamed and I ate every 5 hours, only 3 times a day at very specific times. Crazy in retrospect, I know. Obviously, that really limited my life in many ways. I passed on lunch and dinner plans, trips, and all types of events because I wasn’t interested in breaking my very strict schedule.
Somewhere along the line, maybe 4 years ago, I began to realize the ridiculousness of my rigid life. Slowly, I instituted changes and am now more flexible in my ways.
Back in the days when I had to cancel plans or not make any at all, I would have to guess I was a pretty lousy friend. However, despite that, there are friends – good friends and best friends- who stuck around. They saw through the noise and saw me for the potential good friend I could become.
Recently I moved from NJ , where I grew up and lived for 37 years, to Oregon. I had to say goodbye to good friends old and new. It was hard, but my friend Jen, who I have known since the 7th grade, drove out of her way to meet up with me in Long Branch, leaving her husband with her adorable twins so that she could see me off. We had lunch at my favorite restaurant The Avenue and walked the boardwalk. It was the perfect day. I did burst out into tears, but her encouragement at that moment and throughout the entire process of this recent transformation made the difference in my life.
Two days before I had to fly off, I met up with a newer friend to review an article I wanted to write about her and the exercise industry. Dawn welcomed me into her home and worked with me to build an article that I am currently working on. She is so genuine – didn’t really care if the article got written or not. We spent an afternoon bonding and I left feeling happy, but sad at the same time. In the old days , I probably would have flaked out last minute and decided it was more important to stay at home and pack, but I am so glad that the bad friend I once was, now only lurks in the shadow of who I really am.
I have known Kate since college – so almost 20 years, but we reconnected recently. She is so positive, yet steadfast in her confidence. She will speak up without hesitation if she feels someone is being wronged. That’s what I love about her. She is fearless! We met up for lunch at my newly discovered favorite salad place, Toast and bonded over talk about our dreams, passions and Garden Botanika!
There are so many more friends I haven’t mentioned here, but you know who you are.
The next time I want to slink back into bad friend mode and think Me! Me! Me!, I will think twice. Good friends are hard to come by. They will stick by you whether you live in NJ or Oregon. They will forgive you for being a bad friend at times and cheer you on even when you have let them down in the past. Think about what kind of friend, sibling, daughter, sister, mother, wife, husband, son you are and be better.