Circumstances in my life lately have made me think about what real friendship is. What does the word “friendship” mean to you? As I get older, I think my definition of friendship is changing. When I was younger, friends were the people you hung out with all the time. They were the ones you talked to every week and saw almost as often. They were always in your life and knew everything that was going on with you. If you didn’t see someone for a long time, you wondered if she was still your friend. You wondered why she wasn’t calling or coming by. You wondered if she was mad at you for something.
Over time, and perhaps because I was so far away when I lived overseas for more than a decade, I have come to realize that the people who are your friends are not always people you get to talk to every week. You get busy; they get busy. Big things happen in your life or theirs that get in the way. One of you has a sick kid or gets sick herself. One of you leaves her husband or has a mother that needs constant care.
Life interferes with your ability to chat with another on the phone or see each other as often as you would like. In my unwise youth, I would have taken such things as I sign I wasn’t important to my friend anymore. But I have learned something about friends: you may not chat often, and you may see each other even less, but your friends are the people you can count on when you get sick, or leave your husband or have a mother who needs care. They are the people who you may not have seen for five years, but they are also the people who would be on your doorstep in a heartbeat if you needed them. And you will be on their doorsteps when they need you.
Friendship is not about who you have on your wall on Facebook or who you Twitter your every waking moment to. Friendship is about the people who are your wall of support when you can’t stand up on your own. Friendship is about the people who you share the moments that keep you awake at night.
To all my true friends out there, I thank you for your friendship. I hope I have been a true to friend to you in return. I know I’ve tried to be.