Saturday, July 31, 2010
“A friend is one who knows us, but loves us anyway.”
Since kindergarten, I have always made it a point to somehow mark my friends in my yearbook. Every year. I usually underline their names. Freshman year of high school's yearbook had Sharpied smiley faces next to my friends. I usually color coat the markings, too. One color for acquaintances and semi-good friends, another color for really good and best friends. Even this year, I kept up the tradition (though admittedly, I felt a little silly this time around).
I'm not sure why I have always felt the need to label my friends in the annual book. I know they're my friends - shouldn't that be enough? I guess maybe I don't want to forget. I don't want to forget that I had friends, and I don't want to forget who those friends are. I'm not sure where the line is drawn (literally) between an acquaintance/okay-friend (color one) and a close/best friend (color two). What made me look at a certain photograph and say, "Ope, gotta switch markers!"?
Friendship (or any kind of relationship, but that's beside the point) is something I spend hours and hours every week thinking about. I write about friends in my diary (yeah, I still have a diary too. I don't write in it as often as I did several years ago, but still), talk about friends to other friends, and daydream about where friendships are (and are not) headed. Heck, I've even written an article for the school newspaper on the difference between a true best friend and a fake little BFF!!!!1!!!1!!<3:)
But take off the "best" title, and what is the difference between an acquaintance, a buddy, and a friend? I have so many acquaintances, and I always find myself yearning to be great friends with most of them. This goes back to what Berlyn and I have in common - wanting everybody to love us.
But not everybody loves me. Most people don't. And drawing a special colored line under their school photograph isn't going to change that. If only it was that easy...
I'm the first to admit that I care about more people much more than they care about me. And most of the time I'm more than okay with that. There are so many different kinds of "friends," and I care very much about all of mine. Let me fill you in on the ULTIMATE KNOWLEDGE that is my view on friendships.
When you're little, friendship is kind of formed on convenience. Sure, you're not as likely to go up to the cross-eyed kid who screams at inanimate objects while guzzling down a bucket of paste, but really, there isn't a ton of appearance-based judging going on in kindergarten. Mostly everyone is friends with everyone.
At a very early headstart, Ryan and I were close friends with another set of twins who were born the day after we were. Rachel and Elizabeth. We shared a birthday celebration with a magician. I don't remember them much. Our parents were friends and then decided we were friends too. Case closed. Moving on to where I had some say, Kelsey Spears became my best friend when I was old enough to actually talk and venture on my own. We played Barbies together, made crafts together, and she taught me how to swing on a playset without being pushed. Still, at that age, I didn't have a set of qualities I looked for in a friend.
I moved in kindergarten. Nichole Berg was my new neighbor and my new best friend. We had sleepovers and I wished I lived with her. She convinced me that my house was haunted. They always had junk food that I never had and they always had the newest toys. We were best friends, but it was still that childhood kind of friendship that wasn't really based on anything.
Over the years, I have gone through a lot of "best friends." My longest solid friendship is with Tasha, who put up with me through my bossy years, my parents' divorce, and my pathetic depressed years. She became friends with me about the same time that people actually started forming cliques. I broke off from some of my friends (who are now the people who exist purely to party and get drunk, so I'm not missing out) when popularity became a factor. I'm so glad I did.
There are the fun friends. You know, the ones you go to just when you need to release some energy. In the mood for an adventure? Go to your FUN FRIEND! Wanna go celebrate Thirsty Thursday? (If you're into that kinda stuff.) Fun friend, you've got a date! Have a giggle fit, go on a road trip, shop 'til you drop, whatever. Fun friends are something I really do appreciate because, well, they're fun. I'm a stressed out girl who mainly focuses on grades and my abundance of problems. I need a fun friend or two to keep me saaaaaaneeee..... (eh? what's that?)
Then there are the Shoulder Givers. Always there for you when you're going through a rough time. Advice is their forte and they truly care about your well-being. And you may care about theirs, too! They'll pick you up a pint of ice cream and tell you how much better you are than the people causing you distress. By the time they're done with their job, you'll probably have stopped crying (or yelling, or headbanging, or jogging in place, binging, drooling, staring blankly at walls, or whatever you do when you're upset) and feel better. Job well done, Shoulder Giver.
What about the ones who seem like really good friends but only want you to do what THEY think is right? Those are my favorite. But I won't get into that now. Good friends listen to you and stay friends with you even when they disagree with what you're doing or what you want to do. Many times, I disagree with the actions some of my friends make. I disagree, and sometimes I tell them that. I may not understand their decisions, but I accept them and stay friends if at all possible. That doesn't make me the best friend ever, but that's what I like in a friend. Someone who stays with me through my craziness, my awkwardness, my insecurities, my 97mph mood swings, my quirks, etcetera... even when they haven't the slightest clue as to why I'm doing what I'm doing.
I like a friend who is the Fun Friend and the Shoulder Giver. Michelle and Bri once rushed over to my house, urged me to stop crying on my couch, bought me Ben and Jerry's, and then crazily drove me around and went on an adventure. The music was blaring and we were singing (terribly, might I add) while we drove past the houses of ex boyfriends and ex flings. This is Shoulder Giver and Fun Friend multiplied and tied into a pretty package of Best Friend (color number two).
I'm aware that I am not being a Fun Friend right now, and this post is not nearly as entertaining as my dear friend Berlyn. But in my awkwardness and silliness is a girl who just really truly wants to have some fantastic friendships. I wish I had met and conversed with everybody during high school, so that the entire yearbook would have been covered with my abnormal color-coated lines. But hey, at least I know what to look for in college.
A rainbow of various types of friends...
Kimberlyn forever, because we understand what our friendship truly is without defining it.