There are some people that I don’t have anything in common with, yet I can’t help but like them. There are other friends from years back, that I can somehow just pick up with instantly, though I haven’t talked to them in years.
I’ve noticed, all of these people have two things in common: they’re actually interested, and they’re sorry.
Being actually Interested.
I sometimes mistake my interest in others for my interest in me. As a young parent, I’ll often hang on the words of other young parents who are doing something a little different, or who’s kids are a little older. I might ask a lot of questions, but that doesn’t mean I’m interested in them. At least not primarily. I’m trying to scrape out some reassurance that I’m normal, too.
That’s not bad such a bad thing. And it can be a great jumping off point. But unless I move past that, I’m not really being a friend. I’m just being friendly.
The key to moving from friendly to friendship is to pause my life, and play theirs. Now I’m in it for them. That mental switch makes the difference.
Friendship is about relationship. And my friends are, uh–screwed up. Almost as screwed up as I am. I suppose that’s probably why we like each other.
But if there’s going to be any deeper conversations or trust, there has to be the humility to admit wrong and face each other straight on. Otherwise there’s this thing in-between us that blocks us from moving deeper.
And I think saying I’m sorry out loud is just as important as meaning it on the inside. I’m sorry without the actions to back it up is cheap. Everybody knows that. But doing the actions without verbalizing the I’m sorry can often be confusing.
When someone’s done something to me, usually a time comes when it’s blown over and all is good again. But I’m always left thinking: did that person understand this like I did? Was this a bigger deal to me than to them? There’s a lingering insecurity that makes our friendship that much less.
As I’ve thought about these two things, I’ve tried to do them myself—to be that good friend. And as I’ve done them, I’ve seen how rare they truly are.
It seems to me that the person who has five or six true friends is a rare person indeed. There’s a line from a long time ago that goes:
a man of many companions
may come to ruin,
but there is a friend
closer than a brother.
I think that’s true.