The One About Friendships*

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships lately.

If you’ve been around for a while, you know I’ve talked about my struggles in this arena. I spent years feeling like a “fringe friend”– you know, it feels a little like you’re always on the outside looking in… and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. I wrote this post 11 years ago and it remains one of my most read / most visited posts of all time.

I still feel that way sometimes… but not as often as I used to.

For the first time in a long time, I feel like I have roots somewhere. After a few years of moving around, M & and I have lived in this city for 11 years. I know the people on my street and I’ve met (and love) the parents of my kids’ friends. I feel like I have a community here.

After years of feeling a small ache in my heart because I felt like I didn’t have a “best friend”, I came to realize something: I do.

In fact, I have several: my mom and my sisters.

Aside from M, my mom is my favourite person to talk to in the whole world. I can talk to her about anything and never feel judgement. She is the best listener, and has this amazing wealth of sage wisdom to offer me–but only when I ask for it. She makes me laugh and has been with me through my darkest moments without a single hesitation. We love spending time together and have so much in common.

If that’s not a best friend, what is?

On top of that, I have two sisters that I know are ALWAYS in my corner. I know that even if we were furious at each other they would still show up if I needed them… and I would do the same without a moment’s hesitation. We laugh harder together than I do with anyone else (except perhaps my brother Choppy) and, on a whole, my siblings are genuinely my favourite people to hang out with in the entire world.

(And I have FIVE of them PLUS three bonus siblings-in-law so I’m pretty dang lucky.)

I think I spent so long focused on what I didn’t have that I didn’t embrace what I already do.

Over the past few years I’ve also been incredibly lucky to reconnect with a group of women I’ve known since childhood. We grew up together in our tiny town in the Great White North, but are now spread across the country with our partners and families. A few years ago one of them started a chat thread to discuss details for a Christmas gift exchange.

That chat thread didn’t stop that Christmas is still going strong YEARS later. There is probably close to 100 000 messages in there and it’s my FAVOURITE. I had lost touch with a few of them over the years, and I love how much we’ve reconnected online.

Isn’t the internet wonderful?!

I’m actually so grateful for many of the online connections I’ve made over the past few years. I have “met” some incredible people, most of them through this little blog. It has been a neat gateway to get to know some people better than I ever did while we were together in person. It has also helped close some old wounds with tumultuous relationships from my days as a teenager, and instead turn them into close relationships that I am really grateful for.

I didn’t know that opening my heart here would in turn open doors to some pretty incredible friendships.

I’m a lucky hot dog.

I don’t feel like I’m on the outside looking in anymore. I’ve learned that the friendships I’ve made over the years might not look the same as the ones splashed across social media… but I’m good with that.

The friendships I hold dear to my heart are authentic. They are imperfect because we are all imperfect. They are the kind of friendships where I can question things and not feel judged. The kind where I can be challenged but still feel accepted. The kind where I don’t feel excluded because I probably live my life a little differently than most people. The kind where we can laugh until we cry, then actually cry the next minute as we unload the weight we have been carrying. They are the show-me-the-ugly-parts-and-I’ll-love-you-through-them kind.

I’m really lucky because some of them are with people I can see and be with in person… and I even get to be related to some of them.

I’m also really lucky because some of them are online and we can connect there whenever we want to.

They are all different. But they are all… real.

And I really really love that.

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One Comment

  • Susan Gowan

    Friendships have always been very important to me. As an only child I made friendships easily and to this day I have many good solid friendships. I have a half brother and his wife and family whom I cherish; as well my sisters and brothers in law. Blessed on hubby’s and my side with a multitude of cousins. Many I count as very important people in my life.

    All that being said I have spent much of my life feeling like the other. I put my roots down deep and when we moved here after 30 years in a community I still love my “old” area where I worked hard on relationships. Easier to make friends in your 30’s than in your 60’s.At least that is my experience. With COVID it is even harder. Oh well I look forward to new friendships when I can.