What does it take for friendships to truly last?
I’ve always wanted a decades old friendship. Not an acquaintance, not a weekend buddy—a friend. Relationships like that aren’t easy to find.
I’ve got a seventeen-year friendship running with one of my best friends (Janet) from middle school.
Yes. Middle School.
We started playing together at the tender age of six, but our real friendship started in eighth grade. I plopped down next to her at lunch, unwrapped my sandwich, and we started talking.
We became close friends and have remained so through High School, College, our twenties, and into our thirties.
For Valentine’s Day, here are four thoughts I’ve had about friendships that last.
Thought #1 : Friends Live Near Each Other
This seems obvious. To be close to someone you need to be close in physical space.
When my family moved to Janet’s neighborhood when I was fourteen, less than a ten minute walk from her house, it was easy to be friends.
I know you can have friends—good friends— all over the country, but it’s not the same. They might be kindred spirits, cut from your cloth, but they aren’t present in your life in the same way as a friend who lives in your city.
Thought #2 : Good Friends Do Things Together
Janet and I did a lot of things together. We went running almost every single week, three times a week. We studied, talked, watched movies, and ate a lot of pizza together.
I think this was key in our friendship.
We aren’t clones but we shared life, in person. Now that we’re
old older and busier, we purposefully orchestrate our lives so we can still be together.
Thought #3 : Best Friends Work Through Fights
If you spend this much time with another person, you’re going to disagree. And sometimes, things get ugly.
We fought about the dumbest things, but it taught us a lesson. Instead of simply fighting, we fought it out and made it to the end of our disagreements. Friends are worth the fight and the resulting humility that comes of being wrong.
And I was wrong a lot. This one was hard but we survived.
Thought #4 : We All Need Lifelong Friends
Exchanging mutual benefits is a natural part of friendship, but lifelong friends dig so much deeper than surface needs.
The longer I’m friends with Janet (and all of my close friends) the more I see she has things about her that I need to learn. I need her endurance in hard situations. I need her grace. I need her goofiness.
And she needs me.
There Is No Greater Love Than This
Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
There are so many people who have been my friends for a very long time. You know who you are and today I am especially thankful for you.