Today is International Friendship Day. I've never heard of this day, but it got me thinking about my friends, the type of friends they are, and what kind of friend I am.
Growing up my mom always told me about her one friend she has. The one person she would consider her confidante. She would always tell me good friends are hard to come by and it's not about having a certain number of friends. She taught me that I should always choose my friends carefully, stressing that my friends are a reflection of me. Her exact words really were:
Show me your company, and I'll tell you who you are.
Basically the Jamaican version of, birds of a feather, flock together. Regardless of how you say it, those words have always stuck with me. I learned from an early age, that while I am social and friendly, not everyone is going to be my BFF or have my best interest at heart.
When I think of my friends, I think of a close-knit group of friends that I have. My oldest friendship is 25 years old and my newest friendship 4 years old. They all don't know each other, but the few of them are all my friends for very good reasons. We've all met in various ways, whether it was school, work recently or over a dozen years ago, or even a chance encounter at a HomeGoods (LOL).
As I have gotten older and life continues to happen, my friends and I all lead very busy lives. Whether it's our careers, or family. It's different than high school or college when your bestie is within arms reach all the time. The best part about these friendships is that we don't have to talk every single day, we can easily pick up the phone and pick up where we left off. Regardless of how long it's been since we spoke, I know who I can count on. I know who will be there for me. I know the first person I would call in certain situations.
As for me, I have always been one of those friends that I am there for you when you need me. Sometimes, I feel like an invisible friend because I'm not always seen. It's not a neccesity for me to always have to be in someone's space. It doesn't prove my friendship anymore by counting the times through the year we see each other. I may not be at every single group occasion, outing or event, but I love to show gestures of kindness and let people know I'm thinking of them even if I'm not close or present. We don't have to hang out all the time, but I will always be there emotionally, physically when you need me.
I'm the person you can talk to. I'm the person that will help my friend or really anyone for that matter to try to find a solution if they are asking for one, not everything requires solving and I've learned to know the difference. The one thing that I am good at is listening. I am the person who will listen for hours if that's what you needed at that moment. I'm the person who will stand up for my friends, make an uncomfortable situation, comfortable for them. Overall, I would like to think I am a good friend...until someone tells me different LOL.
Many years ago, I was watching a Tyler Perry, Madea play and I believe it was "Madea Goes to Jail." In the play, she classifies people in her life as a tree, they are either branches, leaves, or roots. It is something that has been imprinted in my brain and I have shared this with friends as they were going through things. While the scene itself was not about friendship it was about a marital relationship the idea is still applicable because really, at the end of the day everything is a relationship regardless if has to do with a friend, coworker, acquaintance you name it, it's all about relationships.
So, here is the tree analogy explanation: