I’ve had a lot of friends over the years, far more than I can count on two hands. It’s said that you’re lucky if you have one good friend in your life, that with one friend you can get through anything. I’ve been more than lucky with so many good friends in my life, who have often helped me get through things.
When I look back on my past, it’s the quality of my friends that made all the difference. I know many of them have been ad hoc counsellors for me, helping me through whatever issues I had at the time, and I’ll always be thankful for them being in my life.
Some of my friends have been with me for a very long time, with my longest current friend being around for about 30 years this year. Even though we started knowing each other 30 years ago, we didn’t actually become friends until 23 years ago, and then they quickly became my lover and partner in life. We moved on after a couple years, but I’m privileged to still have them in my life as a close friend today.
Friends come, and sometimes they go. For many years my oldest friend was someone who had been around since 1978. We went through the latter years of primary school together, and on through high school. We split up after leaving high school and our lives took us in different directions, but we always were able to stay in touch with each other.
I was disappointed when, after 35 years of what I thought was a great friendship, he chose not to come to my wedding in 2013 as my best man. I didn’t think his reason was good enough, and I realised that the only reason we were still friends was because I hadn’t let go of him. So I did, and his response told me he didn’t really care, which I found quite disappointing.
Friends have always been important to me over the years, and I’m sure it’s because when I was growing up I had no friends. My parents moved around all the time and I was never in one place long enough to make friends. It wasn’t until I was 11 years old that we settled down somewhere and I started making friends.
So I’ve valued having friends because in my childhood I never had any, and I’ve valued their input into my life. I’ve hoped that I’ve been as good a friend to them as they have been to me. But when friends have moved on in my life, it’s been something I’ve been disappointed about, even though I know it’s a normal fact of life.
We develop friendships with people who are aligned with our interests or attitudes, and we share those interests or attitudes and have many good times together. But as a person grows and moves forward in life, what they’re interested in and the attitudes that they have will evolve and change. Sometimes the friends will change too, and they can grow together, continuing to share their changed interests and attitudes. But most of the time, who we become is no longer aligned with the friends we have. Our interests or our attitudes change, and so do our friends.
So when my friends have moved on I’m aware that it’s also possible it was I who might have moved on. Sometimes our friends leave us behind, and sometimes we leave them behind.
As we grow, and as our friends come and go, we’ll always find new friends who are aligned with who we become. I’m thankful for those in my past, and for those in my life today, and I’m looking forward to the friends I haven’t met yet. I’ve always said that strangers are friends we haven’t met yet. It’s true.
Hey stranger, how’re YOU doin’?
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