“Don’t walk in front of me…I may not follow.  Don’t walk behind me…I may not lead.  Walk beside me…just be my friend.

__ Albert Camus

 

It is so much easier to make friends as a child.  No inhibitions, no baggage and no preconceived notions.  The majority of adults have an average of two close friends.  Why is it so hard to make friends as an adult?  I am referring to friends other than a partner or spouse.  Family, kids and schedules cramp friendships.  As people get older, they get set into their habits and are unwilling to change.

I had a lot of friends as a child, teenager and as a young adult.  However, having kids really strained some of my friendships over the past decade and I have lost many. Facebook has connected me back to many of those.  These days I have a few really “immediate” friends.  By that I mean friends who I interact with daily and appreciate me for who I am.  They know the good, bad and ugly, yet remain friends with me.

My parents and my two younger sisters are my closest friends.  It’s a different relationship because we’re family.  It’s unconditional.  We are constantly teasing and joking.  Insults are the norm.  Some of our friends are shocked and appalled at the things we say.  But it’s all in good fun.  We have always been there for each other, barbs and all.  I can’t imagine not talking to my parents or sisters everyday and not crack a joke.

My workout buddy “M” and I are friends.  Our friendship is very simple and pure.  We have been running and biking together for almost six years.  We spend countless hours on trails talking about life, family and just cracking bad jokes about people on the trail.  It is nice to talk to a friend that listens to rants and does not judge.  We finish our workouts and say “see you next time”.  My youngest sister always says “I can’t believe M puts up with you for those 8 mile runs!”

Then there are my other friends.  They know who they are!  There are the ones who text me funny gifs long-distance.  There are the ones who keep my neighborhood funny and interesting.

Friendships are a two way street.  I have found that there is no perfect friend.  Some of my friends have shocked me with their views which are polar opposite from mine.  Yet, we respect each others views and agree to disagree.  Even if some of them have made rude or insensitive comments over the years, I have realized that they have a good and caring side too.  As I get older, I find myself brushing off comments and issues from my friends that would have ended our friendship years ago.  I have learned to let things go and it takes a lot of patience. Even if you are an introvert at heart like I am, you really do need to have a few friends.

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