Authentic best friends are hard to come by, and in a busy life they are even harder to stay close to on a regular basis. Figuring out a way to balance that into crazy schedules is a challenge worth meeting.
What is an Authentic Best Friend?
Honestly, my first thought at that question is that if you have to ask you’ve not yet met yours. Then again, what do I know? Maybe you have and life has taken you both far apart, either emotionally or physically. A friend is many things and the description can go on and on forever it seems. An authentic best friend though, that is different to me. With authenticity comes a yearning desire that never goes away, even through fights and total life clashing.
Read on to hear about how 7 years of not talking or even acknowledging each other changed nothing.
Friendship is truly a blessing, especially in an authentic best friend.
The Beginning of My 1st Authentic Best Friends
I grew up in a small community, we even had our own school (it eventually closed because we got all the way down to 40 kids in a K-8th elementary school!). There were literally 4 (three girls and one boy) of us about the same age and we all lived within 3 miles, with a mile between each of us. Don’t trip on the math, half of us were a set of twins (boy and girl). So, perhaps we were literally meant to be as we were certainly planted in just the right locations.
That didn’t mean we were the be all and end all to each other all of the time. As a matter of fact, since they were all a year older than me, I wasn’t always close to them. Until that one fateful birthday party. Stacy was having her 12th birthday party, a slumber party with a ton of girls (we were going to the big school by then) and she invited me. Since I lived up the road, I rode my 4-wheeler to her house and the fun began.
As all of you know, if you get 10+ teenage girls together, the drama will inevitably begin. When it did, girls were attempting to walk home (some lived semi-close [6 miles] and some not so much) and Stacy was, naturally, upset. So, I took off on my 4 wheeler after Alison (the other girl in our 3 mile radius) and talked her into coming back. I don’t remember what I said or did, but we managed to come together and enjoy the rest of the slumber party. I’m pretty sure it came with a good dose of Southern guilt: ‘It isn’t about you, we can’t ruin Stacy’s birthday’ seems like a familiar tune.
Our 3 mile radius friendship included Stacy, Alison, Allen and myself. We played together, swam together and got into all sorts of adventures. But we were never the group you see on television, Allen eventually went to hang out with other guys and us girls had various other friends that we were close to but we always came back to each other. Still do, though our lives have taken us apart many times and keep us far too busy quite often.
Time and Space Can’t Break Connections with Them
We grew up and went in 3 different directions. Alison always had Allen (being her twin and all) and I always had Stacy, or maybe Stacy had me. So, when we hit adulthood, Alison moved a little further away because her family did. I married the wrong person and Stacy got married too. We had a huge falling out, which I won’t go into here, and didn’t speak for 7 long years.
The crazy thing is, through everything I always missed her. Always. I didn’t reach out instead I just gave up I guess. Obviously, what we battled about became a big, fat, meaningless issue. I got divorced, she had 3 children (her oldest was a baby when we split). Life had changed and had changed us along with it.
After having moved around for a while, I’d gotten re-married and my husband and I had settled in the town next to the one Stacy and I had grown up in. Enter facebook, and this is probably one of the only good things I’ll give it: as I was scrolling through one day, I saw her profile picture. My heart screamed I swear. So I messaged her, something about I know it’s been forever and I suck but can I take you to lunch?
She agreed and we met for lunch. The first time we’d seen each other in 7 whole years. As soon as we saw each other, we embraced. Being apart hadn’t diminished our love for each other in the least. We ate and talked for hours, there wasn’t any awkward silences or not knowing what to say. It was like we’d never been apart, well except that everything in our lives was different. Everything except our friendship. That was, and still is, the same.
Alison still lives a pretty decent distance away, but whenever we see each other it’s the same. It’s like we’ve never been apart.
So, Again: What is an Authentic Best Friend?
I suppose, after writing that last section, I can say that is the definition of an authentic best friend. Someone who you connect with so deeply that no matter what the disagreement is, how long you spend apart or how far you live apart, the comfort of their presence or a conversation with them is the same as it was when you saw each other every day. Then again, it’s better, because you know that no matter what life throws, you can call on them and they can call on you. You’ll never be alone as long as you have an authentic best friend or two.
To Be Fair
The story above left out so much and left out so many other friends that I love dearly, but I’m writing a post not a novel. You are probably already bored and skipping sections anyway. So, for all my other close and best friends, I love you and always will. Also, stop being a crybaby. (If you know me and my friends, you know this is just ‘us’. haha)
How to Stay Close
Let’s start with excuses:
- Charity Involvement
- Volunteer Work
- Resources (read gas money haha)
Did I cover them all? Seems like I did, I get it. We’re busy. I’m busy even though I always say I don’t do anything. My friends don’t say they don’t do anything, they pretty much use the first two excuses. They are legit, not really ‘just excuses,’ but none the less. I’m calling them excuses because let’s face it, we can all make time if we really want to.
So how do we stay close (and still get our life junk done)?
It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. Honestly, we need those connections. They aren’t options they are something that our soul needs. The most important ‘me time’ ever.
- Get Over Yourself: We all have stuff to do, stuff that weighs us down and excuses are always easy. Get over yourself. The dishes can wait, other obligations will still be there. MAKE the time. Because, honestly, one day it will be too late and we can never go back. Don’t waste those opportunities.
- Passing Notes: Remember back in school when we passed notes back and forth. Oh what I wouldn’t give to get a glimpse of the ridiculous things we thought were so important back then! Being all grown up, we no longer pass in the halls to slip notes, but there’s this awesome thing called a postal system and for a measly 60 cents or so, they’ll pass it for us. Don’t use email, it’s just not the same. Don’t print it with a printer. Hand write a letter to your friend. Not only will it make her or his day, it will give you a closeness that you are missing. Hopefully, they’ll return the favor. Ya might consider slipping a ‘guilt’ SASE in their, just to give a little push.
- Meal Prep Parties: One thing that keeps most of us crazy busy is cooking dinner. Have a meal prep party! Each person can pick a meal and bring the ingredients for multiple dishes, then you can prep them together so that in a few short hours you’ll all have at least a few meals for the week and you have had the bonus of spectacular memory making moments! We’ve got a ton of make-ahead recipes and freeze-ahead recipes to get you started!
- Timed Meetings: We can all manage 30 minutes from time to time, schedule your best friend in for lunch or coffee.
- Go on Walks: Everybody says they need to exercise more, make a weekly walk together part of your routine. You’ll get the physical benefits, a ton of endorphins and even that one on one time that you know you are missing.
- House Cleaning Parties: No time for the above, schedule cleaning parties, one day at each house on alternating weeks. You’ll all get your chores done and you’ll actually enjoy cleaning!
- Planner Party: Host a planner party, it’s super fun and while you are at it you can schedule in more time to hang out!
- Journaling: Start a journal, but not a ‘dear diary’ journal. Use it to write letters for a day or two, then drop it off with your friend so they can do the same. The joy that comes with it, and with reading through them on a rough day is immeasurable. Stacy and I did this for a while and it was one of the best things we ever did. I keep thinking I need to start doing it again… Guess I need to enact lesson one. In that, I’ve ordered this friendship journal to begin again.
- Impromptu Drive-By: Just drop in, set a timer and stay outside for 10 minutes. You’ll be amazed at what a difference that makes!
Inspiration- Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Letters
This book totally inspired me to write this post because it reminded me of things my friends and I once did that we sort of just stopped doing. Mary & Me is a heartfelt, true story of friendship that overcame time and distance through letters between two lifelong friends. For thirty years (and counting) they’ve written letters to one another.Thousands of them.
They overcame hardships in these letters. They grew closer in these letters. Brought each other laughter and tears through all of life’s ups and downs. They didn’t let life tare them apart. How beautiful is that! You can buy yours through the link, and rest assured if the story and tips above didn’t inspire you, this book will certainly do it!
This book (and hopefully new habit) seemed the perfect fit for the April Showers Giveaway Hop! What better thing to do than curl up with an inspiring book and reconnect with your authentic best friend!