Can a friendship last a lifetime? And should it?
Can a friendship be strictly platonic?
Are some friendships just bridges to the friends we are truly meant to have?
I have had friends come and go. I also have friends that I have known for more than half my life. I like to think of myself as a sincere person who actually cares about someone else’s life and interests but is it too much to expect that in return? With Skype, FaceBook and Hotmail, how can we measure who is a true friend and who is just another face on someone’s online popularity contest?
With friends, we take and give freely in order to enhance our lives. The older we get the harder it is to make new friends and also keep in touch with the ones from our past. A lifetime friend is probably the most challenging of all because it tests our ability to love unconditionally. We watch their ups and downs and experience them as if they were our own. But when that friend makes decisions we think are misguided or wrong, it’s difficult to sit back and watch things unfold without some measure of frustration and defeat. We want to be their ‘cheerleader’ but also not the overbearing friend who says “I told you so”, when things go horribly wrong…this is the unconditional part.
There will be times, with a lifetime friend, that you will outgrow each other and drift apart. It could be that a large chunk of your life is missing from experiences together just because the wind has blown you in different directions. And if this friend is true, then eventually the wind will come around again and you can just naturally pick up where you left off.
There are also friends that will connect you to someone else that you were meant to know. You could marvel at what a coincidence that this person came to you through so and so and feel like you already know each other because you have been hearing stories about this person for years.
Then there are platonic friends. I have a few. I won’t deny that from time to time there has been that natural physical attraction, but through everything, the male/female friendship has been a wonderful experience that has outlived any initial attraction. It’s wonderful to have perspective on things from a man other than my love partner.
On the other hand, there is always the underlying knowledge that this person is of the opposite sex and therefore innocent flirtation becomes an amusing sort of sport. You can joke about things like “your last girlfriend was incredibly stupid” to “hey, what’s that cologne you’re wearing, you smell good enough to eat!” I enjoy these friendships immensely because it’s safe territory. I can hang out at the bar drinking beer for beer with my male friend and know that he will still do the gentlemanly thing and throw me on the couch to sleep it off alone.
All in all, I love the mix of old friends, new friends, married friends, single friends, male friends and girlfriends (and family friends too). It will take some time to establish these sorts of friendships here in Italy, but I am hopeful that they will be just as rich in experience as I have had with my old friends back in Canada.
To all my friends back home, I look forward to some lazy summer days hanging out swimming, gossiping or flirting over a cold bevy or 2! To my new friends in Italy, I will miss the summer days that could have been the buds of flowers on a young tree, but promise to be back to nurture them honestly and with great enthusiasm this September.
Thank you (in no particular order) Kelly L, Cyndy P, Suzie O, Shelley I, Rick and Sharon B, Sid H, Alan S, Alan B, Geoff W, Elora T, Michelle D, Roxanne and Fabio, Stefy, Fillie, Silvia and Silvia, Georgina and Marco, Freddy D, Clinton and Connie A, GolfGuy, Tony S, Annabelle A, Lindyloo aka Woody, Carlotta B, Eddie pussycat B, Angelo C, Marianne P, Dave H and Tia V, Rosie from AZ, Dan M and Janice L, Susan and Bruce A, Stephen D.