I met my third best friend in college. I don’t know exactly how it happened. The first person I made friends with in college held the blood pressure cuff too tight on me, and bruised my arm up. It didn’t really hurt but it looked awful and after that she panicked and dropped out of the program.
The second person I hung out with turned out to be too optimistic and perky for me to hang around with, especially in the early morning hours. So I kind of backed away from that, to a degree. My backing away is more subtle than most, so it may have all been in my head and she possibly never even noticed.
I’m kind of socially awkward, so it’s difficult for me to make friends. In my opinion, a real friend is someone you call in real life, not just texting. Someone you hang out with in real life. Someone you can have a conversation with. Someone you can call for help or just to talk without feeling like you’re being rushed off the phone. Go to the movies or lunch with. You know, a friend.
Call me old school.
So I finally found a group I sort of fit into. Keep in mind that we were going to spend two years of our lives with these people. Out of the 6 or so people in the group, I found one that is a real friend, and two that I still keep in touch with. For me, that is excellent.
So I exchanged phone numbers with these woman, mostly to keep up with homework assignments and to vent about classes and grades.
So, my socially awkwardness kicks in, and while I hang out with these ladies at school, I don’t call them. Why? Because I don’t miss classes. I’m rather up to date on everything, and I kind of skate by in the first semester.
That all changed on the first day of the second semester. I had to drive my child to my sister-in-law’s house to be babysat, and being Michigan in January, I hit the largest pothole in the county. Like, a small family could have found shelter in this thing. I took out my tire rim, the thing flattened, I pull into a bank and just want to cry.
So I called the woman who became my third best friend. “Hello? This really sucks. I have a flat and I’m going to be late. Can you let the teacher know?”
The first thing she asked is, “Can I help you? Where are you?”
I’d already called my husband, so I told her no, but I was always struck by the fact that she was willing to drop everything, even on the all-panicky first day of the second semester. I’d heard the class was tough (and it was), and I was in a tizzy. Also, about an hour late for class as I still had to drop off my daughter.
So, I think that random act of kindness on her part was what got us to be past that acquaintance stage of friendship.
I find that my relationships with my friends (the first I found when I was 6, the second 18) become more complicated as we age. The friends we make as children stay our friends either because you’ve always been friends and always will be, or out of habit. If I met the woman who was 4 years old when I was 6, and worked with her today, would we get past that acquaintance stage? I don’t think we would. I think our children are too far apart in age for us to have that in common. I think we’d be good work friends but I’m not sure that it would ever get past that point if I met her now.
I’m glad I got in early.
So, there are many complex variable with my friendship with friend#3, and I’m not really comfortable sharing a lot of those details. Suffice it to say, she suffers from depression, and has since I’ve known her. She married my brother three and a half years ago, and they have a 2 year old now. And she struggles every day. And she still has that same giving personality. She’ll drop everything to help me out. She’ll drive ten miles out of her way to car pool in rush hour traffic. I probably still owe her money for buying me lunch here and there in our college days. She is starting to grow in her faith as a Christian, although I don’t think she sees it that way yet.
I pray for her that someday she will be free from depression and that she will be able to accept herself, flaws and all. I hope that she can see that she is abundantly blessed, and find her way to contentment.
And I’m glad she is my friend. Why? Because I’m not without baggage myself. We relate to each other on slightly different levels, and that’s okay because we can depend on each other to give a different perspective. I’m a quiet listener for the most part, but she doesn’t take offense if I have something to say and tell her to stop talking for a minute. We make crazy plans that will probably most likely never come to fruition (most recently, a plan to drive to Montana, lol), and it’s fun. Plus I have some annoying habits that most friends wouldn’t accept (my inability to remember birthday or send Christmas cards, for one; my inability to finish a project, or the way I change my mind constantly, or wander away in the store while we’re shopping together), and she takes them all and accepts me for who I am.
You are a great friend, Heather, and a wonderful sister too.