It has been proven by medical professionals that having friends is good for one’s health; the phrase, “friends with benefits” takes on a new meaning because these are the kind of benefits that help a person’s overall personal health. Todd Jackson, PhD, says that “feeling cared for and supported within a social network is particularly important for women in fostering self-care.” Friends motivate each other, support each other, and, are in a way, survival mechanisms (people feel they have something to live for when they have their friends).
All of that being said, why is it that in terms of friendships and holding onto those that I hold so dear, I feel like a wounded soldier coming home from the war? I have lost so many friends in my life and yet I still remain loyal; if any one of them every came back today I would remain as committed to our friendship as when I feel like it ended.
I think it started when I was preschool age, my best friend Leah Lopez lived next door. I remember us playing every day, and then her family decided to move, only to the other side of town, but for someone so little it seemed like a long ways away. They (her mom and dad) decided to enroll her in private school (an expensive private school), a place called Ten Acre; I went to Catholic School, the kind where you wear a uniform. Leah’s mom said she would keep in touch with my mom so that occasionally we could play together, but it never happened and that was the end of our friendship.
So the I went to kindergarten and I met Lucy Axford, she was from England and I loved her accent. She could read going into kindergarten just like I could, so we read books to each other. At the end of the school year, Lucy had a party at her house and I soon found out that her family had decided to move back to England. I was so sad; her mom said we could write, but who writes letters at the age of six?
In fourth grade, Renee Gardner came to my school from New Jersey. She was so fun, unlike anyone else I was ever friends with; she had these lace up patent leather platform shoes, and she used to wear them even when she played basketball at recess. I loved playing basketball, but I was not very good at it, nevertheless Renee who was almost always a team captain always picked me to be on her team. Renee was also smart, and probably the only girl who ever challenged me academically, but it was a friendly kind of competition. From what I understood Renee’s dad had a really great job, and so, as the pattern had seemed to suggest, she moved away at the end of fourth grade, to Pennsylvania. We exchanged a few letters until Renee stopped writing.
In eighth grade I was lucky enough to meet Monica Adan; she was the cousin of my neighbors who I had been friends with for more than four years. Monica had come to Boston for one year from Mexico to study English; and I loved speaking Spanish with her. Monica was a joy, she was one of the kindest and most loyal friends that I had ever encountered. I knew she was going to move away, but I didn’t care, and it didn’t stop me from wanting to befriend her. I wonder now if I like pain, if I like getting close to someone and then losing them. Monica and I actually kept in touch for a couple of years but then she moved from Mexico City to Monterey and I never heard from her again. Maybe she lost my address because I never received her new address.
A few months after Monica left, her cousins left too, their dad finished his master’s degree at Harvard and they moved to back to Mexico City where they were considered rich by most standards. I actually reconnected through Facebook with the oldest son, Jeronimo; he was the one that I was closest to, we used to play basketball together and I would help him with his homework.
I think the most hurt I ever felt over losing a friend was when I lost my friend Lisa; she and I connected on so many levels, and yet in the end it was the biggest similarity that pushed us apart. I was independent minded, a strong young woman with values of my own, and she was content on spending her life pleasing other people. Sure, there were times when she was happy along the way, but she sure wasn’t happy all the time, and she wasn’t happy when it meant the most. Anyway, in my mind, she decided to end our friendship, I had reached out more times than I could count and she refused to reach back. I haven’t heard from her in over a year, almost two years actually, and to be honest, I don’t expect to. I think too much has happened, and I think it’s too difficult for her to have to explain, after all, friends are the people that deserve our explanations. Their opinions matter to us as people.
I don’t tell you these stories so that anyone reading will feel bad for me. In fact, I have a few really solid friends, a couple that have been with me for a really long time, and some that I have only known for just a few years but that I have entrusted with a lot of personal things. They know things about me that no one else knows, and it’s because they have proven to be true friends that I can tell them.
To me, friendship means comfort, a friend is this safe place that you can go to and no matter what you do or how stupid it is she/ he is always there for you. Friends never let you down, love you unconditionally, and are, in a way, soul mates; they are mates and good for your soul. Friends make you laugh when you are just about to cry, meaning really good at turning a frown into a smile. My small circle of friends is my comfort zone, they are like drinking hot cocoa when it’s really cold outside, and then you add marshmallows, and it’s so perfect. My friends are perfect, well not perfect themselves, God knows they have their flaws, but I do too, and my friends are perfect for me. I like to compare how I feel about my friends to the second to last episode of “Sex in the City” when Carrie is having dinner with the girls for the supposed “Last Supper”, and she says, “I just had a thought, what if I had never met you?” Wow, that just says it all, what if I had never met my friends? I cannot even begin to imagine my life without them. Although “Sex in the City” is the ultimate TV series for girl-friends; friendship dates back to biblical times and the book of Ecclesiastes. Chapter 4, Verses 9-10 say that two is always better than one because if one falls down, a friend can help him/ her up. Pity the one who falls and has no one to help him/ her up.
I found this quote and I want to dedicate it to my friends because it is one of many quotes that describes perfectly how I feel about them---- “A friend is someone who reaches out for your hand and instead touches your heart”.
Friendship quote links: