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I have this friend called Rich. Lately I’ve been thinking about what it is about him that has kept us friends for so long. Here’s a list:

  1. He’s known me for a long time. 13 or 14 years. This means that he knows where I’ve come from and what I’m capable of. He’s able to track my habits. He’s heard my stories and I’ve heard his, which means we focus on what’s happening right now.
  2. There’s a comfort level of having known someone for so long. It’s like, you know all that stuff about me and you’re still around? OK, I guess I can just let it all hang out then because it doesn’t seem to bother you. There’s an honesty there that doesn’t happen with simple acquaintances. Lowered guards. I never have to question his intentions or my own.
  3. He calls me out on my bullshit. He seems to know me better than I know myself. When I’m not being honest with myself, he reminds me of that fact and slaps a big reality helmet onto my massive head, which I need sometimes. But at other times, when he knows that I just want a whinge, he’ll indulge me with that as well.
  4. He lives far away. I think this is important. I think the distance allows us to sustain the friendship and commit to it more fully because there isn’t the obligation of getting together on a regular basis. Would this sense of obligation exist if we lived closer together? Probably. Does this mean that we’re not that good friends after all? No, I think it’s our personalities that make us this way and the surrounding factors of our friendship are what make it good. Besides, it means that when we do get together, we have a hoot of a time.
  5. We’ve been through a lot together. Well, apart. Life has happened to both of us. Massive sadness and great triumphs. The stuff that movies are made of. Actually, it’s nothing that special—it happens to everyone. But there have been lessons taught in how each other has gotten through the strife. It’s shown me that anything is sloggable.

The point is that a lot has happened, much time has passed, and we’ve come to a point in our friendship, I think, that it doesn’t matter what happens going forward, I know I can always count on Rich to be my friend. I’ve come to understand that this level of friendship means that I don’t have to adore and revere him all the time. His stubborn grumpiness and overuse of logic as a weapon against uncontrollable emotion doesn’t get to me because I accept it as simply a part of who he is. And when I do stupid things and act like a girl in grade 10 with the self-esteem of a flea, he’s there to point that out and remind me I can do better.

Do you have a Rich? I think everyone could really benefit from having one. If you don’t, you should start working on that because it takes a while to develop. I’d lend you mine, but I’m using him at the moment and expect I will be for a long time.

Originally posted February 22, 2013

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