Today’s post will be to express gratitude to the friends I have gained as an adult.
For most of my life I have only had one or two people at a time that I could really call my friends. I was extremely selective, putting up these impossible standards of what a friend should be like. They would have to be loyal and completely honest, but also support me no matter what. I thought that these were the only possible terms under which someone could become my friend. I also had very strict rules about not doing anything sexual with a friend.
But I have come to see that my unrealistic standards for friends were not helping me at all in picking the best people to have nearby. Rather they were a barrier to protect myself from disappointment. I expected my friends to never make a mistake and to be as close to perfection as possible, because I wanted to give that in return. I thought friendship can only exist in the rarefied air of impossibly high standards. It was because, just as with most of social relationships, I had not examined what I actually wanted from a friendship. I just gullibly accepted ideals that I had grown up with. Friendship, to me, was more of a utopia than it was what it actually happens to be: the closeness of two flawed, imperfect individuals.
It is what I had seen every time friendship was depicted. The bonds of friendship were unbreakable. Friendship was unconditional love (a motion that I have come to reject completely). Friendship was supposed to last a lifetime, no matter what. Basically, what I had learnt in my environment was that you could only be friends with a dog, cause the dogge never disappointed. And it is because of this that the older I got, the less willing I became to risk getting close to someone only to fail at friendship or be disappointed in turn. I was unwilling to accept that others are flawed and that I myself am flawed, that I can fail, disappoint and find forgiveness. The people can be really close for a while and then grow apart and that is ok. That you can at one point say, I thank you for being my friend for so long, but I don’t think we share the same values anymore and that is nobody’s fault.
And more that one year ago, I decided to take a risk. I set up a once a week coffee date with someone that I had been out of touch with for a very long time. One day I will tell that story too. And that person has showed me that one can make mistakes, can be imperfect, can criticise and be honest and give support when it is needed. And ever since then, I have started adding to my list of friends. I happily accepted invites to coffee, for walks, to go shopping together and I have gathered a wonderful assortment of awesome human beings that I like to have close. I have just had coffee with one of them and reflected on how good life is when you can find support and understanding. It is a marvel to be seen in all your flaws by someone who can tell you that they might not agree with you on everything and that is ok.
This person has decided that they will leave the country in a couple of months. I could be sad for losing someone I have just started getting close to. But instead I have decided to work more on keeping in touch through social media and to committing time for this person, when I am in their city or when they come back home. I have also realised that I am willing to play with this person, in a sexual context and that should not prevent me from enjoying our friendship. It makes sense to me now: I am friends with all of my romantic partners, why would I not be willing to be sexual with my friends? Why put up fake barriers, when I feel differently? Why not take advantage of the closeness and trust that I feel?
So this post is in celebration of my gratitude to my new found friends, to the friends that have been there for years and to people I might not even know, but might become close to me. And it is also a reminder that, just like any other relationship, being friends requires work and commitment. And it will never be, nor should I expect it to be perfect. And I plan on working more at having and keeping these folks in my life. And if you have someone out there that you miss, who has shared the good and the bad with you, how about reaching out again and reconnecting?