Over my time transitioning from child to teen to young adult to mature adult, I've had a lot of experience in maintaining relationships and what it means to be a friend.

I can count the number of true friends on one hand and I can tell you that friendships totally outweigh romantic relationships by a landslide.  Friendships are what you rely on when those romantic relationships are no longer present AND when they're actually THRIVING. Because who can you lean on or take self care trips with, if not with your friends. Who can you celebrate your new relationship with if not your friends?

I've never been bothered by the small circle of friends I have or how easily interchangeable some of them have been.  I have one true friendship I've maintained for 23 years now and honestly, if that's the last friend I have, I'm good. She is one I've had through my highest of highs and lowest of lows.  She is supportive no matter how far fetched my ideas or situations have been and I appreciate every bit of  her and do my best to support her just the same.  For me, she is the epitome of "friend" and is more a sister at this point than anything else. 

Friends for me come from the most unexpected of places.  I've made long term friends through work, whom I always tend to recycle out for newer friends... I'd say, it's a matter of personal growth... and through social situations as well.  And those friends I make through other friends, for sure, usually stick around a bit longer than expected. 

For me, the test of time is when either when they've decided to cut our friendship off for whatever reason they have or if I've realized they no longer serve me a positive purpose in life. 

I thought of providing a prime example to what a friendship is not, but rather than blow up this particular person or giving them the attention they seek every time they read my posts, I'll save that for another time. Also, adding to the negativity, surely does not incite purpose.

Instead, I will say this. 
A friend is someone who has no qualms about who you are.  They accept you in all of your glory and all of your flaws.  They don't care if you are difficult at times, because they're also not without flaw and they know you accept them as they are.  Friends confront you when you're being ridiculous.  And they do it in a way that is acceptable and respectful of the friendship you've maintained.  They don't talk about you behind your back and they're aware that they may have contributed to any issues that come up between you. 

Real friends are self aware.  They know when they've fucked up and they apologize for those times they are out of line, crossed some boundaries, and take responsibility for that momentary fuck up.  And if you are a real friend, you forgive them and move on.  Quite simple.

Real friends speak highly of you under any circumstance, and if they can't say anything nice about you, then they keep their thoughts to themselves because they would rather not run the risk of hurting your feelings. They don't tell other people how horrible or difficult you can be and follow up with a "but I love them." because that's just not appropriate behaviors for any friendship  - even if they're doing it in your face and especially if they wouldn't appreciate YOU doing it to THEM.

Real friends invite you to important events in their life, not because they feel obligated to.  But because they want you to share in their happiness - whether a birthday, a wedding, a shower.  They don't invite you because they feel there will be a backlash if they don't.   And they don't wait until the last minute to mention it to you because they really don't want you to go or don't care if you don't, but just wanted to extend the courtesy.  Nope.  Real friends EXPECT you to be there, so they make the attempt to make sure you are.

Real friends check in with you.  Because life can get really busy sometimes once we're adults.  Sometimes, we don't have time to see one another. But we should always have time to shoot a text, make a phone call, just to say, HEY HOW ARE YOU? I'M THINKING OF YOU! Small things like that make all the difference.  And maybe, you just shoot your friend a random text about a random event and follow up with a "how are you?" The point is, you show up for those you consider your real friends.  In some way, even if just symbolically. 

Real friends FEEL real all the time.  There's this undeniable feeling of love for your friends when you make plans to see them or speak to them.  You should never dread having to communicate with this person.  You should always look forward to sharing time with them.  Because if you don't, why even bother?

And if you've read this and are now questioning some of your friendships... perhaps, they're not your friends?  And the world won't end.  Just cut your losses! Life is better when you have less negativity weighing you down in any form. 


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