How wonderful are friendships? They bring so much joy into life. But I think you do need the right ones.
Here are the five kinds of friends I need in my life (and the two kinds I don’t) …
ONE. The forever friend. The person that knows you like a sister – your secrets, fears and dreams. The good stuff and bad stuff and loves you anyway. Loves you enough to call you up on bad behaviour and when you are heading in the wrong direction. My dear friend and I have been close since grade 2. That’s a lot of years. We could drift for months but always come back to the same place. I adore her and couldn’t imagine life without her.
TWO. The friend whose life aligns with yours at that moment. Some friendships are born of timing and coincidence. You are going through the same things at the same time. Sometimes the intensity of those friendships only last a season. And that’s okay. After a personal tragedy that readers will be familiar with, my closest friend was someone I had never met. She and I exchanged daily emails and they became my lifeline. She too had experienced a terrible, terrible loss and our thoughts about grief were similar. We remember each other often, and are grateful for what we gave each other, but we no long lean on each other in the same way.
THREE. The friend that energises you. There are some people that I just love to be around. Being in their presence lights me up and makes me think all sorts of things are possible. They inspire me. I am an extrovert and I plug into people for energy. I hope I give that energy right back. I love it when you have the kinds of conversations that leave you believing you can truly change the world. Those friends put a spring in my step.
FOUR. The friend who challenges you. I guess I am like everyone else. The older I get, the more the people around me tend to reflect my own life. But I think that’s dangerous. I think it gives a very narrow perspective on the world. I am grateful for my wide variety of online friends who open my eyes up to new things. I love my friends who work in literature, art, fashion and academia who always have the most interesting things to say and share. The friends who forge their own success. Whom I can look up to and hope to be like one day.
FIVE. The practical and supportive friend. There are people in my life that I know I can always rely on. The 3am kind. They will always offer a hand and I will always extend it to them. I trust them with my family. The kind of people that remain when all else goes to hell. The writers of supportive notes. The cookers of food. The stoic shoulders to cry on. Corner-stones of life.
Some of those friends merge with each other and I treasure them all so much. I hope that I offer back what they so freely give to me.
And then there is the kind of friend you don’t need …
If you are made to feel judged, less than you truly are, defeated, continually taken advantage of or just bummed out after spending time with someone. And it’s always the same. Then it’s time to let go.
If you cannot help but judge, feel tense and bite your tongue from expressing an unwanted opinion when you are around someone. And it’s always the same. Then it’s time to let go.
Hanging onto those friendships isn’t healthy for either party.