“Friendship isn’t a big thing. It’s a million little things.”
Know what makes me happy? Wonderfully productive editing days that result in trimming the manuscript by 1119 words (over a hundred more than normal!).
Know what else makes me happy? The truly amazing, special people I have in my life, the friends who are every bit the family I choose. It’s a topic that’s been making its way around the blog world recently – Megan and Hope are just two of the people who have shared insightful perspectives about it – and one which I’ve been thinking about a lot, too.
It’s no secret that this year has been horrific for my family. Losing Gram was unspeakably difficult and the worst thing I’ve ever had to endure. There were so many days when the storm clouds blocked out the sun, when the sadness and grief overshadowed the joy and faith. But, as it so often happens with things like this, tragedy spawns an outpouring of support that wraps around you like a bear hug, keeping you safe and protecting you from the elements. To say it was – and continues to be – a comfort to have that support from some very special friends is an understatement. I can’t begin to find the words to explain what a difference it’s made and how forever indebted I’ll be to y’all. Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Yes, there have been disappointments, too – people who I reached out to and didn’t get much back from in return – but that hurt isn’t what’ll last. The bonds, the connections, the genuine compassion will.
How many of us have had experiences where a friendship seems one-sided? Where you put in continual effort, day after day, and don’t receive the same in return? It’s probably a universal situation. And sure, we can move on. We can realize the wisdom behind this quote: “Never make someone your priority when they only make you an option.” Sometimes the pain still lingers, though. I have certainly had my fair share of this, sometimes from people I never would have expected it from at all. Is it a trivial disappointment in a world where there’s so much sadness and sorrow? Sure. But when you constantly give, give, give and it’s unreciprocated, the hurt is very real. I’ve learned, though, that with relationships like that, you sometimes have to let go. You can only try so hard and so long. Sometimes it’ll fade away forever. Sometimes it’ll be infused with new understanding and new life a few years down the line. Sometimes things can’t change. Sometimes they can.
And sometimes we find friendships – real, true, lasting friendships – in a myriad of places. Partnering with someone for badminton in high school gym class. Sitting outside a building in college, waiting for your first ever course. Sitting by someone in a Broadway Musicals class you weren’t even originally sure if you wanted to take. Message boards for your favorite television shows and singers. Writing communities. Blogs that instantly catch your attention and speak to something inside you.
Sometimes people will look at me like I’m speaking a foreign language when I say that I’ve met amazing people online. “How can they be real friends?” they ask. “It’s not like you see them all the time.” What I always say in response is that you don’t have to see good friends all the time, because you know they’re always there. Just because there’s a physical distance doesn’t mean there’s an emotional one. I have incredible, loving friends here in Pennsylvania, friends who I’d do anything for, no question asked. I also have the exact same kind of friends in places like Georgia, Alabama, California, Utah, Michigan, and Texas. Some people may think that’s strange. I think it makes me lucky.
And when the online and real worlds connect? Even cooler. I love, love, love finally meeting people in person after talking so long. Whether it’s a road trip down south or meeting up with a local blogger who became a fast friend, it’s always such a wonderful experience. Yesterday, I met up with Hope for dinner at Bertucci’s. After reading her blog for the better part of a year now, I felt like I already knew her, even before we met. We ended up talking for three hours (!!), and I’m super excited to have found a new, fantastic friend in her. This is why I love both the blogging and writing communities so much. The people you meet really do change your life for the better.
Okay … I have been rambling on for way too long. Apparently this is what happens when you have a post-editing adrenaline rush. Now it’s your turn. Tell me about one of your friends and why your friendship is so special. Have you ever met anyone in person after originally finding each other online? Do you believe that friends are the family we choose for ourselves?