But that's not what happened. What happened was that I moved 17 times before I graduated from high school. I'd make friends, get comfortable, then we'd move. I would write, but out of sight, out of mind--very few people ever wrote back. That got old, so I stopped trying. My requirements for friendship are therefore probably a little different than most people's. If I am going to the trouble of putting my heart out there, of opening myself up to another person, I need something in return. Loyalty is what I value most in a friend--someone who is going to stick around, no matter how the dynamics of the relationship change.
Because all relationships go through change. The tide goes in and out. I grow or don't, the other person grows or doesn't, but real friendships are never static. Those relationships that are static, such as that with a coworker, may not continue after one person changes jobs, because the entire reason the relationship existed(work) is no longer there. Many people don't seem to understand this, and there are feelings of abandonment. As a child, I was all too familiar with these feelings. I don't necessarily like it, but I understand that when a coworker leaves a job, they are not likely to continue calling or texting or meeting for lunch. After a while I just forget about them.
The tide goes in and out. There has to be more to a relationship for it to become a friendship. There has to be a give and a take established, where each person takes what they need and gives back. A sharing of both joy and pain. Not just in the good times, when the marriages are sound, and the children are happy, and everyone is healthy. It is easy to be friends with people under those circumstances, but the tide goes in and out. Things change.
The true test comes in the bad times, when divorce is inevitable(hypothetically), or someone is dealing with illness. That's when I tend to corral the wagons and take on a siege mentality. I get downright cranky, snapping at everything. I am not easy to like. I am ready to fight. That is just when I need someone to offer me a box of tissue, a bottle of wine, and a hug. Or just listen--that works, too. The very few brave people who have done that for me, well, those people are rare gems indeed. Those people always have a direct connection to my heart, no matter how many times the tide goes in and out.
What do you cherish most in a friend?