Is Friendship Harder Than It Used to Be?
“If you have one true friend you have more than your share.” Thomas Fuller
When our youngest child was in elementary school, we moved cross country to a new town where we didn't know anybody. Sam came bouncing through the door after his very first day at his new school with a boy we'd never seen before and introduced him as “my friend. We sat on the bus together.”
Mike and I laughed at the fact that for a ten-year-old, that's all it took to be friends: just sitting next to each other on the school bus. Sam and this new friend spent many happy hours together in the three years we lived in that neighborhood.
As you get older, it's a little harder to make friends. Maybe we become a little more wary, a little less open. Maybe we're too busy to spend the time it takes to really get to know someone well enough to call them friend.
“It takes a long time to grow an old friend.” John Leonard
Whatever the reason, it seems that these days I have many acquaintances (people I know and whose company I enjoy) and fewer friends, which makes me treasure even more those true friends–the people who know everything about me and like me anyway. Most of those friends live far from Texas, where I live now, so we rarely get to spend time together, but knowing they're there makes my life better. When we do have those rare opportunities to get together, it seems like time falls away and we just pick up where we left off the last time. These are the people I know I can count on to understand and support me, to be there for me in a time of need. I hope, I believe, they feel the same about me.
What I've been thinking about a lot lately is that most of those people are folks I've known for many years. It seems like it's been a long time since I've found a new friend to add to that category. And I wonder whether the reason is that I've changed. You know the old saying: to have a friend, you must be one. Am I less friendly, less open, less dependable than I was when I was younger? I hope not.
What do you think? Do you stay in touch with friends from your school days, or have you found new friends as you've grown older? How do you define a “true friend,” and has that definition changed?
I Was Just Thinking . . .
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