I had a lot of friends when I was a kid. Some friends I was very close to. Others were more like acquaintances. But even friends that were close to were close because of fairly superficial reasons.
We liked the same things. We enjoyed the same movies and games and books. We were homeschooled. We went to the same church. Not that any of those are bad foundations for friendship. But none of them will last because there isn’t a deeper reason for friendship underneath them.
Friendship as a child looks different than friendship as an adult.
Friendship as a child looks different than friendship as an adult, mainly because you just don’t have the same amount of time to invest. Staying in touch with people as an adult is hard work. You have to purposefully set aside time in your schedule to spend with others, and that’s difficult to do.
When I was a child, I made friends where my parents took me. The destination was my parents’ decision. The reason why we went was my parents’ decision. But that changes when you become an adult, because you aren’t the passenger anymore. You’re the driver.
We should choose friends because we like the same things, yes, but that shouldn’t remain the only reasons we’re friends. Somewhere in there, you have to supersede the superficial and focus on what really makes you friends. Quite frankly, what makes you friends is that you choose to be friends.
You don’t get to choose your family, but you do get to choose your friends. And if you choose your friends wisely, you’ll get a relationship that will last your lifetime (and maybe even beyond).
Maybe friendship starts with superficial things—like what you enjoy doing or what movies you like watching or how much Star Wars trivia you know. But it can grow to become something bigger. It can become a relationship where you bare your soul, where you feel safe with that person, where you want your friend to succeed in life and vice versa. It can become a defining relationship in your life.
If you choose to be friends based on unchanging things, like love and faith and hope and grace and peace, you’ll have more than just a friend. I’m not even sure if there’s a word for that kind of friendship, but it exists.
I know. Because I have several of those kinds of friends.
With a friend like that, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been apart. You can pick up right where you left off, and it won’t feel like any time has passed. A friend like that can almost read your mind. A friend like that is worth your time and investment and your whole heart.
I’m in the Denver area this morning. I didn’t plan to be here. I didn’t expect to be here. But a friend who lives in New England is visiting her parents, and I had a few days where I could come up a visit. So I did.
My roomie and I threw a few bags into the car and drove 7.5 hours to Colorado to spend two days here and turn around to drive back (we’re on the road right now(. Maybe we’re crazy. No, scratch that, I know we’re crazy. But we got to reconnect face-to-face with someone both of us adore.
A sister. A business partner. A friend. And it didn’t feel like nearly a year had passed since I’d seen her. It didn’t feel like nearly three years had passed since my roomie had seen her. We picked up right where we left off.
That’s true friendship. But the truth about true friendship is that it takes time. It doesn’t just happen overnight. Sure you can find someone you enjoy doing things with, but it won’t be true, deep friendship until you’ve had to choose it.