I love the show friends. One of the best parts of every episode is just the theme song playing. Every American knows it and every one of us claps four times after the first line. But the one that is so strong in the catchy tune is, “maybe it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month or even your year, but I’ll be there for you.”
When I started writing this blog I did not want to share it with my friends until I had a few posts so that it was something substantial. I worked on it for a bit and didn’t realize that I had set it up so that when I published a new post it would be sent to Twitter. So when I wrote the post entitled, My Bed, it was sent to Twitter. Having my closest friends follow me on Twitter, they all received it pretty quickly. A few hours after it was published, I got a few questioning texts from the friends I had mentioned. They all seemed pretty wary. Usually I would get, “hey loser, meet us at the bar”…they mean it in the nicest way possible. But these messages were a lot nicer. It was my first curiosity as to the fact that something was off. They were just kind of proposing that I join them. I had other plans so I was unable to see them. But the next day I got another message from one of those friends asking if she could call me. I again was busy so I asked if tomorrow would be doable and she said it was quite alright.
This afternoon she called as expected. She told me that she was unaware that I had a blog, but it popped up on her twitter two days earlier. She has read the post mentioning our escapades in Boston and by the end, she felt bad. She told me that the group I was with had discovered the blog and all felt bad. Her and I had a long conversation and by the end I explained that I wasn’t mad at all. Had I been able to plan for the night in Boston I probably would have been getting my drink on right next to them. And had one of them tried to leave, I probably would have been as drunkenly obnoxious to get them to stay. And she said it to me right there, “we weren’t trying to be annoying, we just wanted you to stay”. Because that is what a good friend does. They do what they can to keep you around.
I believe a lot in good friendships. I think a lot of people do. I think we invest a lot in our relationships with one another and they help make us who we are in the long run. But I also don’t like to half ass a relationship. If I am going to be friends with someone, I want the long haul. I want commitment. I want to know that if I am going to be at my lowest point, I don’t want friends that are going to say what it takes to get me out of my hole. I want friends who are going to sit down next to me and either figuratively or literally put their arm around me to let me know that the support is there, and when I am ready, they’ll be there to stand up next to me as I face my problems. While I have such large expectations for my friends, I would be there for them in a heartbeat the same way I would want them there for me. I would them to do whatever they could to make sure they kept me around as I would do what it took to keep them around.
Keeping friends is hard work. It is very easy to lose them. Saying the wrong thing or doing the wrong can end a friendship or put a large dent in one very quickly. A few nights ago a friend called me very upset because of something she had overheard someone, a friend, say about her. She grew very upset and quickly jumped to question her friendship with this individual. I was talking to her about the situation and it came up that this individual had made a comment about me as well. She asked if it upset me and I told her no. She asked why not? I was honest.
See this summer I worked as an intern, proctor, resident assistant to a program called Project Contemporary Competitiveness, better known as PCC. I worked with about 500 teens at an advanced studies program as a leader, teacher, adviser and a friend. And something that I noticed as I grew closer to different students and developed more meaningful relationships with them, was that their problems were ones that I was experiencing among my own friends. I had been laughing at their problems and joking with fellow proctors at how young and juvenile their problems were. But it wasn’t until one day it hit me that their problems were the ones I deal with in my own relationships. In my head, I began to debrief about what this meant. Was it that certain problems don’t go away? Are there problems that we as individuals have to accept will haunt us from adolescence to adulthood? I say no.
When my friend asked me if I was upset because she was enlightened that an individual had been talking about me behind my back and I said no, it was because of what I decided to take away from my summer time epiphany. I did not decide to think that there are problems that we will face all through our lives. I refuse to believe that. My thought process took a different direction. It was quite the slap in the face realization that my problems among my friends are very insignificant. Why should we bicker and argue over stupid comments or actions that are made? I explained to my friend that evening that in 5 months, I am graduating from my under graduate career. I am probably going to remain in contact with a small handful of people out of the 3000 that attend my school, why should I care what someone says? Concerning myself with the comments of others is childish. I had to yell at 14 year old kids this summer to stop talking about each other because it was rude and inappropriate. I made the decision then to practice what I preach. Why should we as adults not talk and comment about other’s actions? It is childish. It is juvenile. It is immature. If you feel the need to do it, you have not grown up.
I’ve said it before, we all have different perceptions of life, each other and many other things. In my eyes, those are personal perceptions. Why should we let people’s perceptions of us mold us? Shouldn’t our own perception’s mold who we are and who we will become? If a person makes an observation and decides to comment on it, why should we let it bother us that much? Why do we let it direct our actions? I know the friends I intend to keep in touch with after college. I care about their opinions and what they have to say. But otherwise, I am probably never going to see a lot of these people again. Why should they get to play a major role in our life?
When it comes to good friends, there should be no reason to talk about them behind their back or comment on them. That is why I felt so bad when it seemed like I was bashing my friends via blog. Because when it comes to good friends, you keep them around. You do what it takes to help them out. You do not risk losing a friend by participating in a conversation which stems from petty things like boredom or flat out immaturity. Love your friends. Be ready to get down in the dirt to pick them up. Be ready to hold them when they are down. Forgive them for their wrongs. Support them when they are pursuing their rights. But if they are truly good friends, don’t let them go. Don’t risk it with judgement and gossip. Hold onto them. Even if it means drunkenly prolonging a hug in downtown Boston just to keep them around a little bit longer.