Apparently last week, Facebook celebrated Friend Day which is actually not the same as Friendship Day which is celebrated in August (which does not have a lot of holidays unless you include VJ (Victory over Japan )Day which is only celebrated in the US in Rhode Island and is observed on the second Monday in August. There is also National Watermelon Day which is celebrated on August 3rd, just because. I thought I should share a few thoughts about the cycle and circle that encompasses the world of friends. I also must give a disclaimer that since I am not a television aficionado, my knowledge of the series “Friends” would not get me on a game show like Jeopardy, because I rarely watched, and always got Monica and the other woman confused. You know who I mean, the woman who married Brad Pitt and then was not married to him. So I know some things but few that matter.
My first friendships were people who were the children of family members, and the children of friends of my parents. I don’t think exposure to other babies that you meet in infancy really establish friendships but in my case, my parents’ best friends had a son born about three months after I was born and as infants we shared a crib when they got together. A bit scandalous, don’t you think? It was 1954. As time moved along, we spent a lot of time together, but romance, nah, just a pal who I gave a Valentine heart filled with candy every year, and he returned it empty for the next years delivery. I don’t remember getting the heart back other than empty. The yin and yang of friendship, back in the day. I give and you take.
I was pretty selective about my friends, which essentially means, I didn’t have too many. I met other kids in elementary school and in fact have maintained connections with the same few friends over fifty plus years. There were also people I knew and who knew me but there were groups of people who were closer in social proximity and I was on the outer rim, now known as acquaintances. Along the way there were the connections with people who had similar interests or who just clicked with me and vice versa. I met them through work or school or through boyfriends or spouses , who were just passing through, but the friendships endured and despite time and distance, still exist.
There are some friends who you never physically have the opportunity to see because of circumstances but you know they are out there and if you called them in the middle of the night (which if you are in different time zones could be dicey) would still answer the phone and let you know they are there to listen, as though the last time you spoke was moments ago. When you catch up with someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, the best feeling is when you can laugh and remember and tell stories that you both recall, which to an innocent bystander might seem like the two of you are lunatics. To laugh with an old friend is joyous. To cry with them is to truly know the grace of friendship.
As someone who self identifies as an introvert, I am more comfortable in my own space, than I am among a group of people. I can speak to large groups about matters that matter to me and educate them, but my desire is to go back to my safe space and keep my distance and quiet. I take a while to observe a group’s dynamics before I make myself known or heard. I would have been a good ninja but I don’t like swords and I have a feeling the headband would fall in my face which would lead to other perils. I am still particular about who I share my time with. My FHB is at the front of the line and always will be.
I see the people in my circle as bits and pieces of an every expanding puzzle that has no borders and sometimes a piece falls away and another fits in better for the moment. Our needs change and our need for companionship or kinship shifts. It’s normal. Sometimes having someone to have breakfast with, or go to a movie with (as long as they don’t talk or hog the popcorn) fills that need. Friendship is a living organism that requires some attention at times and sometimes functions with benign neglect. I am grateful for people who take the time to care and show interest. I don’t think I need to know that there is a Friends Day or Friendship Day as those folks I consider my peeps know that they are loved, even when not loveable and even when we are far apart. Friendship transcends time, space and the international date line. Be a friend. Keep a friend.
Belamy…. an old Middle French word that means a close or dear friend……