Words and labels sometimes get in the way of a friendship. Work Friend. High School Friend. College Friend. Best Friend. Childhood Friend. Gay Friend. Church Friend.
Granted some friendships are more meaningful than others, I've tried to eliminate the labels as much as possible. The core and heart of the relationship is that we've exchanged our thoughts, feelings, joys, and fears. We share a bond through life experience, common interests, and that ever-so-mysterious chemistry. Time and distance never really defines a real friendship, but that shared love of the other person's well-being and happiness. Less selfish and more selfless.
To be a good friend is to give time generously. Quality time feeds the soul of a friendship. An email. A Facebook post. A text message. Lunch. Dinner. Vacation. A birthday party. A phone call. It's only hard to manage a friendship when there is an obvious imbalance in the giving and the taking. Both sides must have a genuine interest in the friendship. Also, as much as we give, the expectation to receive should be significantly less, if at that, none. All the while, we don't tally or count.
Truthfulness also keeps a friendship healthy. If something is bothering you, let it out. But it's important to maintain the mutual respect and courtesy. Lies and deceit can easily be detected, so be forthcoming from the start.
Similar to people, friendships will also change over time. With marriage, children, careers, and other significant changes, this will also happen in relationships. Be patient and wait it out. If the friendship is that important, friendships will stand the test of time and the test of change.
Forgiveness may take moments or years. It's not healthy to carry a grudge. The cause of the grudge can be a complete misunderstanding. Sometimes forgiveness may not come in the form of forgiving the offender, but no longer holding the offender and the situation important. Over time, the wrongs should just be left in the past. There is no need to carry the burden any more. Life moves on.
I'm fortunate to maintain lifelong friends and create newer friendships along the way. Though it may come across as "work"to some, I don't consider friendships work at all. Friendships make for a more meaningful life because no matter what, at least two people are always better from it.