“If you have two friends in your lifetime, you’re lucky. If you have one good friend, you’re more than lucky.” S.E. Hinton
I have come to learn friendships change over the course of our lives. You start out as a young, fragile little creature with an eager heart and open mind to endless possibilities. Then you get introduced to other little humans. Together you run, skip and play with boundless energy. Making up magical stories and games.
As time passes you grow from child, to then the dreaded preteen (let’s not go down that road) to teenager, and those magical stories and games quickly fade away. Social norms, socioeconomic status, and childhood conditioning shape your young being into a different person. It’s as if you shape-shift from moment to moment, depending on who you are around. Thus impacting your friendships, and these traits often carry with you into adulthood.
Popularity also starts at an alarmingly young age. The need to fit in and be liked becomes increasingly important. It takes an enormous amount of strength and courage to maintain your authenticity when so young, and even more so as you get older. You see bonds that formed as early as elementary school shattered because of this very thing.
As you enter into your 20s some bonds grow stronger. Having a firm grasp on who you are as an individual while knowing what these friendships mean to you. Other friends fade into the wind. Choosing different life paths that are no longer congruent with each other. This begins the weeding out process that carries you into your late 20s and early 30s.
The friends you cultivate in your 30s and 40s usually have an entirely different meaning. These friends may look nothing like the people from your past. They often bring different insights, culture and community into your life. They didn’t know you as a child. Only the stories that are shared. There is no trying to fit in or popularity contest. They only know the person you are now.
These connections either flow or are stagnant. This becomes the recognition of what it means to have friends that are a part of your soul family. True soul based friendships are rare, and if you managed to meet and carry some of them from childhood into adulthood, be grateful. Honor these connections. They are special.
As an adult these soul based friendships won’t just occur out of thin air, although they may feel like it. You have to tap into your true essence, spirit, or soul. Who you are as a human being on a deeper level. When you drop into your heart-space your soul starts to call in other souls that resonate with yours. Souls recognize each other long before our humanness becomes aware of it. But when it does finally click, this is when your thoughts and feelings about what friendship really means to you gets crystal clear.
Friendships become less about “keeping up with Joneses” and more about connection and vulnerability. This resembles the days of when we were more like carefree kids. Shared joy and happiness, rather than comparison, jealousy and status.
Friendship needs to be based on mutual respect and authenticity. It takes vulnerability and integrity to be a trustworthy, honest friend. This is not to say arguments nor down right fights won’t ensue. They most likely will. Friendships are relationships, and like any relationship, it will have it’s ups and downs. It’s how you repair the friendship and come back together that determines the quality of your friendship.
Paradoxically, friendships take both work and feel effortless. There is a natural rhythm and flow. If not, they are often one sided, and that’s not friendship. That’s bullsh*t. They’re often based on attachment or codependency, and are not healthy.
At the end of the day, it’s the friends that show up for us when we are both face down in the mud scrambling to get back up, and celebrating our greatest accomplishments, that matter the most. As people we crave connection by those that see and hear us. We are constantly changing, and ultimately, we all want friends in our corner that can help support that change.
Know that you will find those souls, and that they will find you, as well. Souls naturally gravitate towards each other like magnets. You’ll know this friend when you meet them. It will feel as if you’ve known them your whole life. They will feel like home. Cherish them. Tell them that you love and appreciate them, for their presence in your life is a gift.
As a child my mother used to tell me every time we moved (which was a lot), “just think of all the people who you haven’t met yet that are just waiting to be your friends.” Part of me thought she was full of sh*t. Just trying to make me feel better, but the other part of me wondered if she was actually right. Now as an adult I know she was right, and it’s something I carry with me into every new part of my journey. Wondering who will be the next friend to become part of my current soul family.