(DEDICATED TO OUR DEAR FRIEND G)
There are many variables which can help determine the substance and nature of long-term relationships, both personal and professional.
I remember my daughters’ pediatrician asking the girls during their annual check-ups, “Do you have one really close friend or lots of regular friends?” That always struck me as an important question, and one that I can answer unequivocally. I would much rather have a few very close friends than tons of plain acquaintances.
As the years progress, I see that I live that mantra. Sometimes the close friends have been important since childhood (shout out to Mindy and Carrie!). Others, we meet along the way, and end up becoming valued because of who we have grown into as adults. Perhaps they are friends that we might never have chosen as children. Perhaps we come from different geographic areas and met by chance. However the meeting took place, these friends grow into crucially valued members of our most inner circle.
The beauty of this type of friendship is that it can become just as strong as a long-standing relationship even without the time and proximity of a childhood-type friendship. It doesn’t matter how seldom or often you get to spend together, the connection is there, it is strong, it is inviolate.
My husband and I have been fortunate to develop such a friendship in the past decade with someone who has become a cherished friend. We don’t live near each other. Nor do we have the same friends. We aren’t the same age. In fact, when looking from a bird’s eye view, we don’t have much in common at all. Sometimes, though, you just know someone is going to be a great friend when you meet him or her, and that’s what happened here. And even though we might not get to spend much time together throughout the year (definitely not as much as we would like!), the friendship is vitally important and strong, mutually satisfying and just as valid as any long-term friendship. In fact, I know there is nothing we wouldn’t do for our friend, and we know we will always “back him up.” Dave Matthews sings it beautifully…