“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.”
National Friendship Day is Aug. 6, but in my opinion every day should be a day to celebrate friends and the different types of friendships we have in our lives. From best friends all the way to acquaintances, I know I value mine.
Let’s start with old friends because they’re the ones we found first. They’ve been around the block with us and our relationship has stood the test of time. Old friends love you despite that awkward stage you went through in high school when they, most likely, were going through an awkward stage of their own. Old friends are comfort, familiarity and enduring. They are meatloaf with mashed potatoes, green beans and white bread. Old friends are the best.
Some friends are more recent finds: new friends. They bring the potential for new possibilities and possess characteristics that draw you to them, and vice versa. New friends don’t know your baggage and they don’t need to know about past errors or that awkward stage you went through in high school. This brings with it an energy and excitement for fresh starts. New friends are quinoa topped with free-range chicken and GMO-free vegetables (organic, of course). New friends are the best.
Another group of friends lives in our future. They are the people we’ve yet to meet, who will one day touch our lives and earn the status of friend. Future friends are intriguing and alluring. You don’t know when the future will become the right now and a future friend will join the category of new friends. Future friends are a square watermelon or purple orange – not yet invented but they’ll be interesting once they get here. Future friends are the future and that makes them the best.
Friendship isn’t always forever. Friends come and go. They (or you) leave a job or school or the neighborhood. Lives change and your relationship fades. Sometimes they (or you) return. This leads us to the category of re-discovered friends: folks we used to know, but lost track of and then managed to reconnect with again. Social media has increased the popularity and prevalence of renewed friendships. In the olden days, you’d have to go to a class reunion to reconnect with high school buddies. Now all it takes is a click of a mouse. Old friends who become new again may have less hair and more waistline than what you remember but their essence and heart are mostly and thankfully unchanged. You find you can pick up with them right where you left off years or decades earlier. Re-found friends are like a secret stash of good chocolate you forgot you hid until you found it behind a bag of flour in the pantry. In that regard, re-discovered friends are the best.
Not all friends are human. Often, a person’s best friend comes complete with four paws and a tail. Pet friends are just as real as human friends. When we’re happy, they’re happy. When we’re sad, they’re pretty sure it’s their fault. Besides treats, us coming home to see them is one of their favorite times of the day. They lick us because they love us. Pet friends are chicken and steak and bacon. Lots and lots of bacon. Pet friends are the best.
Speaking of best, I’ve saved them for last. Best friends. They can be old or new, live next door or across the globe and I don’t think you have to have just one. Maybe a better phrase would be best of friends. Bonus life points if you are married to one of yours. Besties know your favorite song and flavor of ice cream. They may be just like you, or a total opposite. You may talk to them five times a day or five times a year. Best friends are all your favorite foods, at one sitting, including dessert (which comes without calories). Best friends are the best.
Friends. They know our secrets and sometimes our lies. We laugh with them, celebrate with them, grow with them, mourn with them and count on them. They’re at the top of our contact list and at the center of our heart. And whether they are old or new, borrowed or blue, it’s my belief you can never have too many and you are never too old to stop collecting.
Cheers to friendship!
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.