It was quite recently, on Facebook, that I realised that I knew more people than I ever had in all my years!
Now, to clarify, as an introvert, I’ve always had too few friends rather than too many; and more relatives than I can keep track of. These latter always seem to turn up at odd times, loudly exclaiming about a time they remember when I was in diapers and had done something I’d would rather not hear about, thank you very much!! One does not have that problem with friends though. Our follies and embarrassing moments belong in the past by mutual consent, sealed by a ritualistic pact never to be broken, on pain of . . . well, something even more embarrassing than the last time it happened. (Shh!!)
The bonds of friendship are unique. Carefully chosen, tempered through the tempests of various trials, bound by the camaraderie gained through common experience, and often closely guarded against theft from competing cliques, friends are treated as a dragon would it’s hoarded treasure. So imagine Smaug, The Chiefest and Greatest of Calamities, snorting fire at some unfortunate contender for the attentions of a chosen friend, and you may well be thinking of yourself!!
For of course, friends are the family we create, the people with whom we share every little secret, every tear of joy or woe, every foolhardy scrape, and every last bit of gossip. Everything except that last slice of pizza. Really, now! Hands off!!
As a loner, I valued the friends I did have, tending those relationships as a gardener would a garden. For there are no truer people than our closest friends, who encourage us to be true to ourselves, all the while listening, lending, sharing, caring, being. They are the family who ask nothing of us, but what we can give; hold no expectations and yet compel us to do our best; and who stand beside us, all at once a shield and a support, against the weathering powers of time and circumstance.
In this age of rampant digitization, we’ve been given the opportunity and the means to reach out to people across the globe and discover those far away, who are yet, some of our closest friends. As close-knit as the people around us, and as equally treasured. It’s been a wonderful experience for me as much as I know it’s been for the people I do know only through a virtual medium. But regardless of where they are, these are people I have found something in common with. And though we cannot meet over brunch or a few drinks, the conversations don’t lack for the stimulation.
So here’s to the families we create! Cherish them, love them, and stay in touch.
Everyone needs a friend.