Don't walk behind me...I may not lead.
Don't walk in front of me...I may not follow.
Just walk beside me and be my friend.
About a year ago, I met someone who, like me, was in a pretty rough place in her life. We were both struggling, sad, unsure of where we would go next in our lives. The road ahead of us looked long and daunting and, at least for me, every day that passed seemed like the longest one. The time dragged on and on and on. My new friend and I sat together and we sulked. We watched sad movies and exchanged sad songs. Looking back at the people we were back then, I feel an ache in my heart. How sad we were! How sorry for ourselves we felt! And then I turn my attention back to now and only one word comes to mind: WOW. What a difference a year has made for both of us. We're still journeying down that same road, still struggling at times, but when I look at us now I see so much strength, so much confidence, so much happiness.
Over the past twelve months, we've been through a lot together -- ups and downs, breakups and makeups, silly times and serious times -- and we've come a long, long way from where we were last August. Through all of my recent changes (and, yes, there have been many!), she's stuck by my side, supporting me and encouraging me no matter what (even during the times I know she disagreed with my decisions). I've made a lot of changes over the past year and, as a new friend, that might not have been all that easy to handle, but she took my changes in stride. Like any relationship, a friendship is a journey. It's a road two people travel down together. It can long or short, wide or narrow, winding or straight. No matter what the road is like, a good friend will hold your hand, will cheer you along, and will pick your ass up and drag you when you just don't feel like walking any more.
The more I think about it today -- on this special day, her birthday -- the more I realize how important her friendship has been for me. It has had a terrific impact on my life and though I've known her for only awhile, it feels, sometimes, like a lifetime. Friendships can be like this. They are so important, so meaningful, and yet they often get cast aside in favor of more tantalizing topics like love and sex. Friendship is, in fact, one of the most important aspects of my life and today I've come up with a mere 26 reasons why friendship is important, necessary, and, well, flat-out awesome (I chose 26 because that's the age my great friend is turning today and the age I'll be turning tomorrow). Today I'm celebrating my friend's birthday, but I'm also celebrating her friendship. Happy birthday, Abbey, and thanks for reminding me how important -- and worth celebrating -- friendship is. Here are 26 reasons why friends are fabulous and -- lucky me! -- my friend is all of these things and so much more...
- Friends tell you the truth -- even when it hurts.
- Friends often know you better than you know yourself.
- Friends meet you for lunch when your heart is broken.
- Friends listen to sad songs and cry right along with you.
- Friends teach you the importance of a well-timed hug.
- Friends support you (even when you're so wrong).
- Friends understand and laugh at your inside jokes.
- Friends share the best music with you when you need it most.
- Friends listen to you complain about your day.
- Friends want you to succeed and encourage you all the time.
- Friends look for the best in you when you don't want to.
- Friends push you to do the right thing when it seems so hard.
- Friends believe you should be happy and help you to believe that too.
- Friends refrain from judging you when you share your secrets.
- Friends answer the phone late at night when you're feeling down.
- Friends ask you how you're doing and actually listen when you reply.
- Friends know when you're not yourself and try to cheer you up.
- Friends open up to you so you can really get to know them.
- Friends smile like they mean it (just like The Killers tell us to!) .
- Friends keep their questions to themselves until you're ready to talk.
- Friends know your quirks (and want to hang out with you anyway).
- Friends are there for you, no matter what, no matter when.
- Friends give you advice but don't get angry when you choose to ignore it.
- Friends celebrate the special moments in your life with gusto.
- Friends don't say a word when you're looking (and feeling) your absolute worst.
- Friends put constant effort into being the best friends they can be.
Friendship is so many things to so many people and can be different for everyone and in every relationship. As we get older, good friendships are harder to find, but, for this reason, I think it is even more important to cherish and celebrate them. I'm fortunate to have many great friends -- both old and new -- and they are all 26 of these things and so much more to me. With every hardship I've had to face in life, I've been fortunate enough to have friends by my side, journeying with me down the winding, curving roads of life's highs and lows. The past year has been filled with change and transformation for me and I couldn't be more grateful for those who have been beside me, supporting me -- for those who have been my friends. As you can tell, I really believe friendships are so important and I'd love to hear what they mean to you.
What does friendship mean to you?
How do YOU celebrate your friendships?