I have one friendship tradition. One.
I meet a group of friends once a month for lunch. The four of us. No one else. And we spend hours ooohhhing and aaahhhing and hysterically laughing at each of us as we share our dramas while lunch’s dessert turns to supper’s main course. We’ve tested many restaurants patience of patrons, taking bonding over food to another level of luxury and intimacy. Some waiters eventually give up hinting and let us sit for hours while hoping their tips increase with each minute passed (we usually feel bad enough so yes).
But as this tradition continues over the years (is it into its second or third year???) I feel each meeting deepens our friendships. As each of our lives change (from job changes to families growing) the conversation and support adapts too. As each of us journey down our extraordinarily different paths our bond only tightens.
This is however not the same for all friendships.
The first time I lost a friendship (no drama required for that to happen); our lives had simply changed…she entered the life of marriage and I had just started working. After years of always being the one to drive the friendship and make the effort I stopped. Just stopped. Stopped forcing it. Stopped being sad that our friendship wasn’t as close. Stopped worrying about “all the years we’ve been friends is now wasted.” I just stopped.
And it was only years later, that I understood that it was not that either of us stopped caring about the other. Our friendship didn’t end because of a fight or argument. It just fizzled and died. It couldn’t adapt to the changing versions of us as we grew through life.
What becomes important for us as we evolve is to determine which people are our people. Which people are we willing to put in the time and effort to allow our friendships to adapt…(let’s be honest, friendships are relationships…either they grow and deepen or fizzle out and die so effort and time is required). And it’s as important that those friends also choose you as their people. Your people cannot be your people if you are not their people.
Those who are willing to adapt to your newfound love of reading books with profanity in the title are your people. Those who accept that you will always argue for the fun of it are your people. Those who accept that you will go from cool-and-calm to I-will-punch-you-in-the-face aggression are your people. Your people are the ones who accept all of you.
Even today, tomorrow or a year from now, friendships may adapt and others may not, as we individuals change (for better or worse). It is nevertheless those who are able to appreciate the value of the frienship as much as you do who become your people.
And you become their people.