Are friends your family or are family your friends?

It’s so amazing how busy our lives can get the older we get. Remember college days where all we had to do was hang out with each other, maybe do a little studying (I know, laugh with me), and maybe a part-time job? We weren’t scattered all over the country (or even all over the city), our priorities mostly revolved around socializing, and our friends were our family.

Then … somewhere between the moment of getting a degree and setting into a career … things start to shift. Priorities become relaxing at the end of a hard day instead of partying all night; sure, having drinks or dinner with friends, but now we’re sharing a meal with ONE friend once a week vs. 3 meals with MANY friends every single day …

Then begins the wedding planning and buying houses and decorating houses (I’m reminded of George Carlin’s skit about stuff) and of course friends are there and supportive but now they’ve taken a back burner – they are the ones that hold us up when we’re exhausted from the wedding plans, but it’s not their wedding. They are the ones understanding when you put them off for dinner because you spent too much money on that great new couch. They are happy, but they’re not the ones sitting on your couch every day. Kids happen – family becomes such a priority again … nieces, nephews, some of us (not all of us!) have our own children …

And then … here we are … we wake up one day and wonder what happened to the good old days, when all we had to do was walk in the house and announce we needed to talk and we had probably 8 or more people rushing to listen, to help.

Does that mean our friendships are lessened because our time is spent doing other things? I hope not. Sorority sister Lindsey wrote about losing friendships recently, about how if we don’t watch it, friends can become “friends” who are great to socialize with, but will they be there when you need to pour out your soul?

I say yes – that even though we will lose some connections along the way, and some friends will become acquaintances, overall the ones that really matter will be here after the wedding plans die down, after the babies go to preschool and the career ladder reaches the next plateau.

Friends are the ones that drop everything when we buy a plane ticket to see them because they need us (or we need them), even when we can’t always tell them why. They’ll sit on the park bench in the median of 86th street with us in silence and never ask a thing, but they know. They knew us then and they know us now and they’ll know us forever.

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When I was a child, I asked my mom who her best friend was. “Dad,” she answered.
I laughed. “Dad can’t be your best friend! He’s Dad! Pick again.”
“Nancy,” she answered. “Nancy can’t be your best friend!” I said. “She’s your sister!”