Today is National Friendship Day and although I am not fully clear on exactly what that means or how it came about, I certainly have some thoughts.
We all have people in our lives we consider to be our friends and relationships we consider to be our friendships. Some are life-long and some have been cultivated in less time. But what does it mean to consider someone a friend? I have been contemplating that question lately mainly because someone I thought was a friend of mine and with whom I thought I had cultivated a friendship saw it another way, thus raising the question: by what criteria do we categorize people as "friends"?
For me, people who are my friends are people I share some sort of commonality with, such as career, hobbies/interests, education, childhood, schools, mutual friends and family. They are people I have grown up with and met along the way of my life journey. What has always been striking to me is that I have always learned something from each of my friends, something that has helped me to make my life richer and fulfilling. My friends are dependable: I can call them when I want to share happy news and when I have to share sad news. They lift me up when I need them and they pull me back down when warranted. They motivate me to know more, learn more, do better and be better. They are non-judgmental and allow me the safe space to peel back my layers of personal insecurities. They know and keep my secrets. They are not afraid to talk with and to me. They are honest with me. They have helped me through some of the most difficult times in my life.
Sometimes friends and friendships don't last. Depending upon the situation, this can be hard to comprehend and accept. Sometimes it's not mutual and one person wants to maintain the friendship and the other doesn't. Sometimes it makes sense and sometimes it doesn't. Some friendships are easy to move on from and others just aren't. What do we do about that? The truth is that there isn't much that can be done except to recognize the lessons learned, cherish the good memories of the friendship, wish the former friend well in life and always maintain a positive attitude.
It's National Friendship Day, a time to honor those friends and friendships that you do have in your life. Today, especially, I honor my friends and those friendships that make me smile and know that in all the trials and tribulations of life, those friendships are the forces that help me to endure, sustain and always keep moving forward.