Remember those days when you would run home from school to talk to your friends (who you JUST left at school) on the phone about what happened throughout the day. I would tie up my mother’s phone line with 3-way calls chatting about who did what to whom and what we planned on doing the next day. Once, some friends and I tried an experiment, I called two people and my friend called 2 more people and tried to get as many of us on the phone at once (the experiment turned out to be an epic fail.) Back in those middle and high school days nobody was messing with yo clique. You shared secrets, stories, ideas, problems; it was a good feeling to know you had a bond. And as time progressed you grew up, things changed and so did the definition of friendship.
Let Facebook tell it, I have well over 600 friends who know and like me, they come from all backgrounds and walks of life. Let Twitter tell you more, I have 300 + friends that follow my every word, concerned with what I have to say. The best is when my birthday rolls around and I get endless amounts of notifications sending me “Happy Birthdays” and other well wishes. Although, it is a highlight of each birthday, truth be told it just isn’t true, not only for me but for many. When you sit down and reflect count all those well wishes calls that are received throughout the year and more than likely the number will drop. Your “friends” dwindle down going from plural to singular.
In a New York Times article called “Friends of a Certain Age”, writer Alex Williams expands on the trials and tribulations of finding friends in your 30’s and 40’s. Even though I am years away from 30, in my 20’s I am faced with the same friendship dilemmas. My own trials, loneliness and confusion realizing “my crew” isn’t what I hoped it would be.
Shows like “Sex and the City”, “Girlfriends”, “Living Single”, and even my all-time favorite “The Golden Girls” paint pictures of the ultimate girl power groups. These women are bonded together by friendship. Never just two, there was a group of gal pals always on-call and willing to help. Watching shows like these build our ideas of what a friendship should be and how many friends one should have, ultimate becoming what we expect and want in reality.
““When you’re younger, you define what it really means to be friends in a more serious way,” said my screenwriter friend, Brian. My ideas of friendship were built by ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Diner,’ ” he said. “Your friends were your brothers, and anything but total loyalty at all costs meant excommunication. As you get older, that model becomes unrealistic.” (“Friends of a Certain Age”)
Honestly, a lot of our ideas of a how a friendship should be are unrealistic. Everybody doesn’t have a ton of friends on call, that sisterhood. Instead many of us have those groups of “friends” who are unreliable, self-serving, only flock when in need, or call when beneficial or to get the “tea”. You aren’t really sure if they’re sincere and some of them are bite by what I call the “New York City” bug, those people who are always saying “oh, I’m so busy. I can’t call you because I’m so busy. I can’t do anything because … I’m so busy.” But then you log on to a social network and see pictures of them laughing it up, out and about. Instead of holding on with a tight grip to those friendships for the sake of having friends, you slowly realize it just isn’t healthy.
I’ll be the first to admit, in the past I haven’t been the greatest gal pal. From not responding to a text or having a late lack luster reply, to showing up late to an event, to not fully expressing my feelings and at times not being constant. I’ve done my fair share of questionable friend behavior but in the words of a wise urban prophet by the name of Chrissy Lampkin “I’m flawed but I’m solid.” and that alone at times maybe hard to find. *I’m improving too!*
There will be weekends that pass without being flooded with phone calls and weeks when no one asks “How was your day? How are you doing?” Sometimes your phone may not ring. It may feel lonely, but you’re not really a lone. There are plenty of people going through the same adversity and my friend, I am one of them. Through my “journey” I’ve picked up a few gems …
Your friends will never be determined by quantity but will be determined by the quality. You don’t have ten friends, so? Do you have two or one that you can always count on? Be happy and thankful for that. You are blessed with the beauty of a true friendship, forget the number. If you want a good friend first you have to be one. That old cliché “treat others the way you want to be treated”, will forever haunt us all, but as tiring as it may sound, it’s true. You want a friend who loves you unconditionally? Well, do you love yourself and everyone unconditionally? Are you loyal to you? Are you always there for others? Be consistent with your own actions first and you’ll receive it back. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized developing friendships is like dating. You don’t find Prince Charming on the first date (unless your extremely lucky) everything takes time. True friendships that withstand the test of time and life’s transitions happen organically and can never be forced.
Embrace those who do reach out to check up on you, it may not be often but it’s happening. And when others don’t take the time to invite you out, reach out to them but don’t over reach. If you’re constantly inviting someone out and the role is never reversed, place them where they need to be and walk away knowing you gave it your best.
What may seem never ending and discouraging now, won’t last forever …