My grandmother always told me that, “You will have many acquaintances and few friends in life.If you have it the other way around, something is wrong.” As I swiftly approach a milestone birthday this summer, while reflecting on this past year, I realize it’s true. More specifically, I realized I don’t want a bunch of friends.
This year, I really started to think about the people I want around me when I start a family. I think about my mentors that have impacted my life. I think about the people who have seen me at my best, my party buddies, and the people who I can really go to when my back is against the wall. The older I’ve gotten, I’ve seen many of those people in these different categories shift positions while others have disappeared all together. It’s tough but I’ve gotten real good at telling the difference.
I see people and can see where they will be placed in my life. Some people are at the party all time phase, and I can truly enjoy going out with them; but when the sun is up or it’s Sunday-Thursday Afternoon, I can expect radio silence from them. Some people I can talk about religion and politics with no issues, but if I wanted to get advice on life, I might as well ask Google. I have very few friends that I can expose the totality of who I am but that’s what makes those friendships even sweeter. People I can be my full self around.
These friends are the ones you wait all life on. These are the friends that drop everything to support you during times of need. These are the ones you can take trips with and they actually happen. These are the friends that openly sacrifice for you and you feel comfortable to do the same in return.
The magic behind these friendships is reciprocity. I’ve spent time before talking about one of my best friends in the world. He recently graduated with his Bachelor’s and I couldn’t have been more proud. I flew from North Carolina to Illinois just to see him take a 30 second walk across the stage, but it meant the world to me and him.
When I graduated, I was lonely in North Carolina by myself. I was happy to have people to talk to when I felt alone. Him and a couple other friends talked to me almost daily. We talked about life, relationships, and the struggles of (wo)manhood. It was comforting that the distance didn’t change the nuts and bolts of our friendships. It also taught me about the time I needed to spend to develop these friendships. You have to set aside time. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but it pays off.
I’ve found that my real friends are the ones that have seen me at my weakest and weren’t afraid to build me up. When I cried, they didn’t laugh. When I was out of words, they didn’t feel it with themselves. When I needed time, they listened. But, most of all, I showed them that I was willing to do the same. Real friendships take a lot of time and energy to keep afloat and once you have them, they last forever. You don’t need many, a fe close ones go a long way.
Who are your friends? When did you notice that the friendship was real? What’s been your longest friendship? How do you make it last? Leave your thoughts, stories, questions and comments below.