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knowing weakness, showing strength


A true friend(


I can honestly say that few people know me as well as my long-time friend, Blair. Having spent over ten years as classmates and locker-mates and roommates and friends, Blair has seen so many different sides of me. It's rare, in life, that we spend time with someone in so many different situations. She has seen me as a high school student, as a college student. She's seen me at prom and out on a Friday night at a college bar. She's seen me as an gawky freshman and the 26-year-old I am today. She's seen me up and down, the way I am now and the way I used to be. Having lived with me for three years in college, she's seen the many shades of me -- happy, miserable, silly, studious, in love, brokenhearted, excited, bored, up, down, living and nearly dead. She's seen me through every single relationship I've ever had (crazy, isn't it?). She's been near (a few steps away in the bedroom across the hall) and she's been far away (a country apart). She's seen me make new friends, fall in love with new boys, and she's seen things come crashing down when relationships and friendships have fallen apart. She has -- in a way that no one else has -- seen it all when it comes to me. 

There's one night I often think of when I reflect on the way I used to be, the way I was when I was living across the hall from Blair. That night I was in my room, door locked, and I couldn't stop sobbing. It was one of those moments when I literally felt like my heart, my whole self, was breaking. (Of course now, whatever had seemed so urgent, so important, then has faded from my memory and I have no idea what that particular sob session was about.) I remember hearing Blair come up the stairs. I remember hearing the pause outside my door. "Are you okay?" Blair had said with the perfect amount of concern in her voice. She is so great at that -- at caring but not prying. Though I'd just mumbled that I was fine and quieted my crying that night, for whatever reason that moment always stands out in my mind as an example of Blair as a friend -- always there, outside the door; she is there for me, but not pushing her way in and prying the way some would. 

Blair has seen me at some of my lowest points. She knows almost all of my mistakes. She knows the things I don't tell others, the moments I keep filed in drawers way in the back of my mind. When I think about how much Blair knows, how much she has seen of me, I feel a mixture of embarrassment and awe. I also feel a slight sense of panic when I think about someone knowing that much about me. But then I remember: It's Blair. And Blair has known me since the very first day of high school. Blair has known me for 12 years, since I was a scrawny, awkward 14-year-old, and never once has she done a single thing that would make me doubt her as a friend. She is one of the few people I always have -- and always will -- trust. 

After I wrote those words, I realized just how amazing that is -- and how inspiring. I've had a lot of friends throughout my life and, as often happens, I've had conflicts and fights and drifting apart. I've had the loss of friendship, the breaking of trust, the crumbling of common interests. Losing a friend is honestly one of the hardest things I've ever been through (anyone who has experienced this will know exactly what I mean when I say that). So when I think about how I have this friend -- this great friend -- who has been with me through all of the ups and downs over the past 12 years, I find myself sitting here open-mouthed in awe. It's literally awesome that I've been lucky enough to have someone who has been such an amazing friend to me -- especially during those self-absorbed years that I'm sure I wasn't keeping up my half of the friendship bargain. 

The quote above says, "A true friend knows your weaknesses but shows your strengths." That quote could have been written about Blair. She knows all of my bad sides -- my brattiness, my bad habits, my rarely seen stubborn side, my inclination toward self-centeredness -- but she never focuses on those things. No, she always, always focuses on my strengths. She is one of a handful of people who has supported and encouraged me for years. I can think of countless incidents when she praised my work or made a statement claiming she knew I would someday be a successful writer. In fact, the only times I've ever had tears fill my eyes when it comes to Blair were the times when she sent an email or a wrote a message about how much she admired my abilities as a writer. Just thinking about it now, my heart fills with happiness. There are those who have made comments here and there about my strengths (and, of course, there is always my ever-supportive family), but Blair is one of the few who knew, I think before I ever did, that I would be a writer. I always wanted it, but Blair believed it. 

Having a friend that focuses on your strengths instead of your weaknesses is priceless. When I think back on all of those years -- those critical years of development in high school and in college -- and I think about how I had this wonderful, supportive friend who I could tell everything and anything to, I feel so incredibly grateful. I'm not always that great at expressing myself physically (hugging isn't really my thing), but I like to believe that sometimes my written words can convey things  my body and voice cannot. If I were to make these words into an action, it would be a big, huge, bear-like hug for Blair -- or maybe 12 hugs. A hug for every year she was there for me. If I were to give Blair 12 hugs (don't worry, B, I'll spare you from that in real life), they would symbolize... 


... every time she listened and never criticized. 


... every time she saw me make a mistake and never judged. 


... every time she encouraged and supported me. 


... every time she showed me my strengths (which sometimes I couldn't see). 


... every time she gave me much-needed advice (and didn't judge when I ignored it). 


... every time she asked how I was and really listened.


... every time she told me the honest truth (even when it was hard). 


... every time she could have told my secrets but didn't. 


... every time she helped me mend a broken heart (all of those great cards!). 


... every time she gave me the benefit of the doubt. 


... every time she attempted to lift my sagging spirits. 


... every time she didn't ask the questions I didn't want to answer. 


Though she may not know it, Blair is the type of person that inspires other people to be better. When I think about it now, I realize how much of a role model she has been for me. As I was changing, as I was becoming the kind of person I wanted to be, I realize now that I was becoming more like one of my best friends. She is wise and caring and loyal and thoughtful and generous. She is a great listener, a super secret-keeper, and the kind of person you want to have in your corner. She is so many things I want to be -- things I think I am finally becoming. Whether she knows it or not (after this post I assume she will... and I know she will be reading it because she is one of the biggest supporters of Positively Present!), she is an inspiration for me. Through the years, through her patient, nonjudgmental moments of listening to me, through her excited, encouraging moments of motivation, she has made me a better person. Thank you, Blair, for everything you don't even know you've done for me. Thank you, Blair, for being such an amazing friend. Happy birthday! 

Do you have an amazing friend like Blair? 
If you could write to him/her right now, what would you say? 


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Awesome :)

Sounds like you have an awesome friend and that is how friends are supposed to be. There's so much crap going on now where people feel like they have to "protect" you, so they tell you you can't do stuff because it's unrealistic. Those friends should be eliminated ;)

Vanessa - Thanks! What's awesome is that I have a friend like Blair!

Henri - I really do have an awesome friend. I know what you mean about people saying things aren't realistic and that's why I'm so lucky to have a friend like Blair. She's always encouraged me and supported my ideas, which is one of the best qualities in a friend.

What a beautiful tribute!

What an incredible way to start my birthday morning.

I am blown away by such a sweet and thoughtful post about me. You said to check your blog today but I had not idea...I couldn't imagine something like this!!!!

I am not the eloquent writer you are (I guess if I was, I wouldn't have also put you through 12 years of torturous editing and revising of papers) but I want to say thank you and I truly am the lucky one to have a friend like you.

Hilda - Thanks! Blair is a great friend and even this tribute to her doesn't do her justice. :)

Blair - I'm so glad you liked the post! :) Thanks so much for being a great friend!! Happy birthday!!!!

It's so interesting to me because i feel like I could've written this about my friend Megan. We've been friends since we were three years old. We grew up just houses away from eachother and our still best friends to this day.

I really enjoyed this post. Thanks for sharing : )

Michelle - That's so great that you were able to relate to the post! It's so awesome to have long time, awesome friends and I'm so happy to hear that you have one in your life.

To be a friend is a great gift. Let us all aspire to be a friend like Blair to everyone we know this year. Thanks for sharing an inspiring story.

This is such a heartfelt and AWESOME tribute to your friend. Blair. And I can't help but think that maybe she WOULD like 12 hugs after all. :)

Happy Birthday, Blair!

Erin - I agree! I definitely aspire to be more like Blair. She's awesome! Glad you liked the post about her.

Hayden - Haha, you're probably right. I should give Blair the 12 hugs she deserves!!

A beautiful tribute to Blair, and beautifully written :)

Catherine - Thank you! I'm so glad you liked it! :)

Dani, you are showing what a great friend YOU are by writing this post for Blair. Whether you know it or not, I'm sure you've done just as much for her as she has for you. A friendship like you guys have is something to be proud of, protective of and grateful for.

Happy birthday Blair!

This is just beautiful, Dani!

I recently did an experiment of sorts when I would pay attention to conversations within earshot between women (OK, eavesdrop) because I noticed that many of the pairs I would see walking around were mostly women. And everytime, these two women would be talking about a third woman who I'd assume to be a mutual friend of theirs. The context almost always sounded negative or catty which made me wonder if women preferred to bond over negative things.

Reading this post sets me straight. Happy new year to you and happy birthday, Blair.

Blair sounds like a wonderful friend. And I hope that wonderful friend knows how lucky she is to be so deeply appreciated. Great article!

This is awesome, Dani. Truly you are blessed to have a friend such as Blair, and truly she is blessed to have a friend such as you.

I am fortunate in my life to have many such friends, and not a day goes by that I am not thankful for them. We may not stay in touch as often as we should, but whenever we do come together, it's always awesome. Everyone should be as blessed as you and I are.

It is rare to have such a friend as Blair. It is obvious that you know that and treasure her. My father said that a person can count the number of true, "have your back" friends on one hand. There are "fair weather" friends and then there are those like Blair. You and she are indeed fortunate.

Sami - Thanks for your comment! Blair really liked the post so it made me very happy to write it. It's really great to have an outlet like this to share what an awesome friend she is!

Belinda - I do think a LOT of women bond over negative judgments of other women, which is really sad. I know that I've had some friendships like that and, as I've seen, those aren't the kind of friendships that last. Lasting friendships are supporting and positive -- just like the one I have with Blair!

Nea - She is! Thanks for your comment and your compliment on the post!

Jay - Thanks! :) Blair and I are definitely lucky to have one another as friends. It's so great to hear that you have awesome friends as well. I really cannot imagine life without great friendships!

Syd - That's very true. It's hard to find people who are as supportive and encouraging as she has been. It's very true that "have your back" friends are pretty rare, but Blair is one of those and I'm lucky to have her!

Aww this is the sweetest post! It's a great way to start (kind of) a year by thanking or making a tribute of all the great people in our lives. :)

You are truly blessed to have Blair in your life. Friends like Blair are very few and far between and when they do come into our lives we often do not fully appreciate their presence. Thanks for sharing your incredible friendship.

Meream - I never thought about it in that way, but you're right: it really IS a great way to start off the year!

Mark - I am! It's definitely hard to find good friends and I'm lucky to have found those that I have in my life. :)

That was wonderful Dani. I don't have a friend like that but then I'm a guy and I don't think it's quite the same for us.

This was so brilliant & inspiring thank you!

Stephen - Thank you! I definitely think it's different for guys. They can have very strong bonds too, just in a different way usually.

Miku - Thanks for the comment. I'm so glad you found this inspiring! :)

Dani, the following was sent to me by a really good friend, and I think it says it all, succinctly, and it makes me laugh!

Are you tired of those sissy 'friendship' poems that always sound good, but never actually come close to reality? Well, here is a series of promises that actually speak of true friendship. You will see no cutesy little smiley faces on this card- just the stone cold truth of our great friendship.
1. When you are sad -- I will help you get drunk and plot revenge against the sorry bastard who made you sad.
2. When you are blue -- I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.
3. When you smile -- I will know you finally got laid.
4. When you are scared -- I will rag on you about it every chance I get.
5. When you are worried -- I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be until you quit whining.
6. When you are confused -- I will use little words.
7. When you are sick -- Stay the hell away from me until you are well again. I don't want whatever you have.
8. When you fall -- I will make sure you are OK and then point and laugh at your clumsy ass.
This is my oath.... I pledge it to the end. 'Why?' you may ask; because you are my friend. Friendship is like peeing your pants, everyone can see it, but only you can feel the true warmth.

Jeanne - That list definitely makes me laugh too. It's a great, honest portrayal of friendship! Love it!

What a beautiful testimonial and tribute to a dear friend. I think you and Blair are lucky to have each other :)

When it comes to friendship, it can be a very sentimental aspect. When ordeals may rip down the sensibility of one's state, it's necessary to have someone around for protection. But, actually, in every possible state, it's necessary to have a sentient guide following your tracks regularly, to make everyday shining in glory. Your friend has set an excellent example of being truly connected to u, than by glib, or doubtful sign of care. It's amazing that your instincts can perceive the facts when you heard the tone of your friend outside the door, while you were sobbing. In a critically emotional state, it may either be baffling or assured of what that interaction reflected. However, counting all things of understanding, you know the genuine sincerity has been presented to you.
I'm sure your friend Blair have beamed up after reading this.

Melissa - Thank you! We ARE lucky to have each other!

Reeti - I love what you wrote about having a "sentient guide following your tracks regularly, to make everyday shining in glory." That's really what we all need in terms of friendship. I'm lucky to have found a friend that is so supportive of me and who really encourages me to be a better person!

yeah, no worries there! the bondage between you and Blair shall remain unbroken. =)

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