Thursday, November 6, 2014

Thirty Thanks, Day 6: Those Friends

I have not always had wonderful friends. I have not always had the pleasure of knowing friends who would lay down their own life for mine, or give me their time and energy freely, or listen sincerely, or want only good for me. I have had them, my whole life, but never before so many at once.

This is partially caused by the hormonal chaos of high school. A friend today, a rival tomorrow. But it's also because I have high expectations for my friends. 

My parents always attempted to convince me that if only I lowered my expectations, I wouldn't end up so hurt or disappointed by my friendships. However, I didn't agree then, and I don't agree now. My expectations were not ridiculous. I was resolved to be a good friend, and wanted the same in return. 

A good friend, by my understanding, should never reject you, even temporarily. That is, they shouldn't end a friendship based on temporary emotions. A good friend also never rejects you based on the presence of "other" friends. A good friend is honest about their feelings--if they're angry, they should say so, even if it causes conflict within the friendship. A good friend listens, even if they don't "agree" with what's being said. (Unless, of course, they're listening to someone admit to murder or something horrible--then they should stop listening, and call the cops.) A good friend doesn't give unwanted advice. A good friend doesn't stop being your friend simply because they have a boyfriend/girlfriend. A good friend should want to spend time with you, even if it's inconvenient. A good friend should want to talk with you, even if you have a bad day and aren't very pleasant to be around. 

I say all of this because my experience was often the opposite, particularly in high school, and even more specifically when I was depressed. It seemed the more depressed I became, the less my friends wanted to spend time with me, or talk to me, or even acknowledge me. I often felt that my depression was inconvenient for them, and when I went to them for comfort (or just company!) they came across as irritated that I was "still depressed."

In a strange way, I was thankful for those friends. And there were other good friends that I could depend on, but I always hoped I would be able to depend on all the people who claimed to be my friend, and not just one or two. They all had their methods of supporting me, and I can give them all grace because we were teenagers. But they don't hold a candle to the friends I have now. 

I am so thankful for my friends. I am thankful for their  laughter and their smiles, how they not only brighten my days but allow me to brighten theirs. I am thankful for their genuine enjoyment of our friendship, and their sincere desire to spend time with me and talk with me. I am thankful for their support when I am in sorrow or joy. I am thankful for their acceptance. I am thankful that we belong together. I am thankful for the conversations we share and the endless amounts of coffee consumed in each others' presence. I am thankful for the ATLA marathons and the Star Wars parties and the snowball fights and the photos and the roadtrips and the weddings. I am thankful for their strength. I am thankful for the patience they have with me, for the comfort they offer to me, for the words shouted or whispered or sung. I am infinitely thankful for the abundant blessing of each and every friendship.

Thanks, friends. You're incredible. 

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