We all have many types of friends.
First, we have “friends,” who are really acquaintances. But we call them friends, as it may seem a bit awkward or cold to label someone an acquaintance, plus they might be a bit more than that.
Then we have “true friends.” People whom we know well. We may know their families or we may hang out in a circle of friends together, such as a GNO (Girls’ Night Out) group or a running club. We spend enough time with them that we know a fair amount about them and do activities together.
And then we have our “really great” friends. These are people who would do virtually anything for us, and we would reciprocate for them. Some of us are lucky enough to have one or two really great friends at any one time. I have found that my closest great friends have changed over the years.
When I had my first daughter, Alex, I met Jill in my Lamaze class. We were really great friends, and inseparable for years, then she moved away. We have remained friends, but are not as close. When my girls went to elementary school and I was involved with their school classes, my closest friends had kids who were similar ages and did similar activities. And we socialized regularly.
So, I have been thinking lately about what actually makes a really great friend.
I don’t think spending a lot of time with someone necessarily makes them a great friend. Or the fact that they remember your birthday each year or attend a family life-cycle event.
I believe a great friend responds to what is important to you. They know you. They know if you need a hug, or a glass of wine. If you need to spend time talking, or time alone. If you need your butt kicked at kickboxing, or you need a quiet walk in the neighborhood. Or if a card or a bouquet of flowers (for no reason) is just the right thing.
I am fortunate to have a few great friends (some of whom are also my relatives), who know me and take great care of me. And for that I am eternally grateful.
I’m sure you have at least one great friend on whom you count and love. Why not forward this blog to them so they know how much you appreciate them?