A few weeks ago my son asked me to explain how I choose my friends. After taking a moment to think about it, I decided to ask him how he chooses his friends.
“Well I like kids that like the same games I like. I like fun kids and kids that make me laugh.” He began saying.
He continued on, “I like kids that are nice to me, not like Lauren. Remember mom she’s the girl that scratched me on my leg and made it bleed.”
I nodded my head indicating that I remembered who Lauren is.
“I like kids that are smart. Isabelle she’s not that smart and she asks too many questions. Every minute I have to explain everything to her. She gets on my nerves when I tell her something and then I have to tell her again because she doesn’t remember.”
I chuckled to myself at his last statement. I thought about the gazillion times I’ve had to repeat myself to him because he didn’t listen. We talked about friendships and I shared with him what makes a true friend in my opinion.
It’s interesting how my friendships have evolved over the years. What I value in friendships today, isn’t what I valued in friendships in the past. I can understand that at my son’s age that he would want friends that are fun, funny, smart and nice. For him, life is about all things entertaining and enjoyable. While I want him to know the true depth of friendship, I realize for now he doesn’t need the profoundness that genuine friendships provide. He is entitled to his joie de vie and his innocent approach to friendships because for the time being what true friendship supplies is coming from his family.
I know his friendships will evolve over time. There will come a day when he realizes friendships aren’t simply about fun and games, but about values and beliefs. His friendships won’t be so self-centered, but instead will be a special balance of giving and receiving. He’ll understand that friends don’t have to agree on everything that is important to each individual person. But instead, friends understand that what they do agree upon, matters the most in the friendship.
I’ve learned over the years I don’t choose my friends. My friends grew out of circumstances, chance meetings and mutual connections. Some of my friends I wouldn’t have ever imagined would have become my friends had I had the ability to look into the future. I probably would have laughed at destiny had she told me down the road our paths would cross in a new way and a friendship would be born. What I’ve come to realize is the element that has made friendships rise out of ashes and soul mates out of odd circumstances is unconditional people. Open minded people. Nonjudgmental people. I have friends from all walks of life – religious, non religious, Christian, Muslim, agnostic, gay, straight, etc. and all the colors in between. They know where I stand in my belief system. I know where they stand in their belief system. I respect that I can’t change them and they respect that they can’t change me. We all appreciate that we can be real, honest and transparent without overpowering our friendship with our own individualized dogma.
Soon, very soon, my son will find himself having these kinds of friendships and what he has now will pale in comparison. Have you found that your friendships have evolved over time? What makes a true friend in your opinion?