Friends – I believe that everyone has them to some degree. There are just degrees of friends. I think most of us would classify the majority of our friends as surface friends. They are around when it is convenient and mutually beneficial. Then I think you have work friends. People that make getting through your work day tolerable. You can meet them for lunch or at the water cooler or maybe they just stop by to chat. Either way they help you manage your work life but you rarely see them outside of work functions. Lets see, the next type would be family friends. The ones that you have because your family hangs out with their family. You can have one set when you are younger based on who your parents are friends with and then when you have kids a completely other set who you are friends with because each of your kids are friends. Either way, they too are a friendship of convenience. Another would be a friendship of interest. You are friends because you like the same things. This might be workout friends, scrap booking friends, camping/hiking friends, just people who enjoy doing the same things you do. Some of these can obviously mix as you may hang out with a work friend outside of work or have a family friend that you do things with outside of family functions. But they all are friends that if you needed them, really needed them, they would probably drift off into the background.
The last two group of friends are the ones that are the most elusive but worth the most. The first would be close friends. These are friends who you are able to talk to and share personal information without fear of judgment. You know they will either give you advice or just be there to listen and support. These are friends who you can keep for a long period of time. They help may you keep your sanity because they give you someone to vent to and they know you are just venting, but if there truly is a problem they are there for you. The other one is the special friend. These do not come around very often and when they do you need to hold on for dear life because they can be your lifeline in the worst of times. This friendship is built on mutual trust and respect for each other but it also has a large amount of empathy. You feel as though you are always thinking the same things. It is similar to a close friend, however, there are things that you would never tell a close friend but you would share with your special friend. This special friend is a person that you can tell them anything. Your deepest darkest secrets and you know they will understand and that the secret is as safe with them as it would be if you had not told anyone. They are nonjudgmental and they feel almost like an extension of yourself. These friends are very hard to come by and if you find one, then you are probably friends for life.
I am an extroverted introvert, if there is such a thing. I exude confidence on the outside and can be outgoing if the situation demands that I do, but really I am more comfortable just being by myself. I would much rather be the wallflower than the life of the party. This has gained me numerous surface friends and work friends but not much else. I have only had one close friend and he left my life many years ago. Never a special friend and even the close friend was only safe because he was temporary and I knew it. So instead, I have dealt with everything on my own and while I take a little pride in being as resilient as I am, it is still difficult not to have anyone to share things with. For example I did something so good and so unexpected the other day that I wanted to share it with someone. As I am driving down the road, I am going through the list of people who I could call and would be as excited as I was. Unfortunately that list quickly became zero and with it my level of excitement. It reminded me of where I really am in this world. I let me know that very few people would notice if I picked up and moved to England without telling a soul.
The problem is that the type of friends that are the most needed (close and special ones) are the hardest to come by. They are not magically made overnight. It takes years of building up the levels of trust and familiarity and as you get older it becomes harder to make those types of relationships. The opportunities to meet people are smaller and most people already have their established networks. Because of all this the chances of finding that type of friendship is very slim. So for now I will just keep going on as I always have. I just have to be my own best friend, unfortunately I don’t know that I even trust myself to be that person…