This morning I was thinking about friends and friendships. All of us have made friends over the years. Some we lose contact with because marriages, change of jobs or major moves have happened in their lives. Others, we try to stay in touch with occasional lunches or get-togethers or celebrations such as weddings and anniversaries. But, like everything in our lives, changes occur and a few more friends get lost in Life's constant shuffle.
There are several levels of friendship which we all encounter in our day-to-day routine. There are casual friends like the friendly cashiers at the various shops you frequent because they recognize you and always exchange pleasant chit-chat; the wait-persons at your favourite eatery, who knows your likes and dislikes by persuading the Chef to do a substitution; the people in your gym class who suffers through the agonies of the work-outs with you; all the people who pass through your life until the next time you see them.
There are friends we do things with--going for meals, going for walks, going to classes with; enjoying concerts and even, going on occasional mini-vacations. They are more than casual friends but not the first ones you go to if you need help.
Then, there are the few friends who are truly friends in every sense of the word friendship. Even if you have only one true friend or if you're especially blessed to have more than one, that person is worth his or her weight in gold.
Often, we don't realize we have a True Friend (TF) until years later, that person is still in our lives. Through good times and bad times, this friend has been there for us, no matter what. This TF is there if we need help or a shoulder to lean on; he/she is a great listener and knows just when to say nothing or what to say when you're finally able to listen. Most of all, a TF is honest enough to tell you what your head doesn't want to hear but your heart knows is true. A TF has the power--where family doesn't--to make you listen to the truth.
The amazing thing about TFs is that even if you've seen each other just a few days ago or a few weeks or months later, it's as if time hadn't passed at all. Conversations and matters of importance are picked up as if it was only yesterday that true friends got together. True friends recognize instinctively nuances in words left unspoken, the body language or subtle signs of happiness or trouble.
Such special friendships have to be nourished and maintained. To keep a True Friend, you have to be one too. And, I hope I am.