Breaking the Friendship Rules

“Who is your best friend?” The question was directed at me.

“Er…ah…” I stumbled for a bit trying to answer the question, as I thought about it. “Well, I have a bunch of really good friends, I guess I have 5 best friends.”

“Five! How can anyone have five best friends?” she said incredulously. “There ought to be that one friend out of your five that you can tell your deepest, darkest secrets to…Who is that?”

What’s with the deepest, darkest criteria for a friendship anyway? Can’t we just connect with people without sharing the so-called “deepest, darkest”? And can’t that connection grow and still be an “honest to God”, real, true friendship without the deepest, darkest stuff? This line of interrogation was beginning to annoy me; I felt I was being forced to choose who I like the most and the truth is these 5 chicks, yeah I said chicks, are all special to me on different levels and for different reasons. Why is it that we are always forced to pick just one?

Longevity = True Friendships

Here’s the thing – I don’t want to be confined to any friendship rules. Like the one that says you have to know someone for x period of time before you can call that person your friend. Really? Nah! I don’t think so. I have people who I have just recently met, that I consider friends. Why do you have to be the kid from Elementary School, who I use to kick rocks with, or the girl from High School, who I use to gossip with or even the friends from College, who I use to party with for you to be considered a friend? Why can’t you just be someone I recently met that I share a really cool connection with? I don’t understand the longevity criteria requirement. I don’t have to know you inside out, nor do you have to know me inside out for us to connect on an “I really dig you” level because let’s face it how much do we really know the people we call our friends?

We Have to Have A lot in Common

You and I don’t have to have to share similar interests or like to go to the same places for us to be friends, we just need to have shared values. I have a really good friend, who is nothing like me. She is incredibly quiet and shy and super intellectual and may never have been to a real party in her life. She analyses everything and never just goes with the flow. Yep, she is the total opposite of me but she is my friend. Why? Because we have these really deep, interesting conversations. She admires me, as much as I admire her despite our differences; and in the short time since we met, we have learned so much from each other. That might be part of the reason we get along so well, because of our differences, we each bring something unfamiliar and new into the friendship. I am forever amazed by the way this girl mind works. We aren’t kindred spirits but there is still a connection.

Perfection

I’m still waiting on one of my 5 to return my phone call from two days ago. This friend is moody as hell, if she’s not in the mood to talk, which is often, she will not pick up her phone, doesn’t matter who is calling. She responds to text messages and calls back when she feels like it, or she may respond to your phone call with a text. (I have a rule that a phone call should be returned with a phone call and not a text, but this friend doesn’t care about my rules.) Yet, she is still one of my go-to 5, because I know if I really need her she is there. I might have to text her 911, but she’ll be there😀. She and I have history, she is fun, she is smart and I like her I-don’t-give-a-damn attitude, because you know I have a bit of that I-don’t-give-a-damn attitude myself. Our friends don’t have to be perfect for our friendships to be real nor do they have to conform to our idiosyncratic rules. My friends sometimes annoy me and I am 100% sure I annoy them. Friendships are not all rainbows and butterflies, sometimes your friends will behave less than perfect and as long as a weird situation doesn’t develop that leaves you wondering if that person is actually your true friend then their imperfections are perfectly okay.

Age Differences

Who says we can’t be friends if we weren’t born in the same decade? There is this notion that a real connection can’t be made if the person is not within your age group. False!

Last Summer, my son, who was then 13 years old announced that his new best friend was his summer employer, who is 20 years his senior. He really liked hanging out with her and looked forward to going to his Summer job every day simply because to his surprise “she is a geek” like him. He was intrigued by the fact that an adult could be into LEGO, video-games and Science experiments like he was. He had made a connection, a real one.

Similarly, one of my go-to 5 is 12 years my junior. It’s a real relaxed friendship, she is one of my favorite people, but she does have an old soul and I am young at heart so we get to meet somewhere in the middle as our friendship blossomed over the years and it couldn’t be more authentic.

Distance and Time

Distance and time have been known to create a void in many friendships, so much so that people believe the misconception that they are no longer “real friends” with someone they don’t talk to on a daily / weekly basis. That is another rule I don’t subscribe to. Not because our connections are few and far between doesn’t mean that our bond isn’t as tight as when we were hanging on a regular basis.

Thankfully, social media has made the World a much smaller place and has facilitated greater, sometimes even meaningful connections. However, we all have that one friend who is just not into social media. Conversations with that friend only take place once or twice a year on your respective birthdays; you’re not in on the day-to-day happenings of your friend’s life and vice versa but believe me when I tell you it doesn’t make the friendship any less than it used to be. Gone are the days when you both use to sit in your dorm room and watch “Sex and the City” and “The Sopranos” and have lengthy discussions about each show afterward. Those were really great times sprinkled with laugh out loud memories but when you both get the opportunity to connect you realize that what you built years ago still has a solid foundation and that bond is irreplaceable.

There are too many rules and guidelines surrounding the definition of a true friend and what friendships really means. It’s unfortunate that society has created a kind of hierarchy, if you will, of friends in an effort to get people to rank their relationships with each other, but the reality is that when you meet a friend you know, whether or not you’ve spent years or days getting to know them, instinctively you’ll know when you’ve made a worthwhile connection.

37 thoughts on “Breaking the Friendship Rules

  1. To me, there are no rules or perfect formulas for anything in life. I thought I had a best friend for over 10 years and in the end I was the only genuine one in the relationship.
    Friendships are quality over quantity (read as longevity). Friends are the people who get you and accept you just as you while also being honest with you (not always an easy feat). They remind you that you’re not alone and they bring out sides of you that you didn’t know you had. Friends are gifts that make this journey called Life easier.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most of my friendships, especially in the recent decade of my life, has been seasonal, and that’s totally fine. We came into each other’s lives for a reason, we created some memories and then went our separate ways and that’s okay.

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  2. This is so true! No rules needed. Just an organic bond and authentic connections. Some friendships are meant to last a lifetime and others are not. When it’s real, you know.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You can see it on my blog,I’m on day 2.Mainly,you post one quote for each day and nominate three new bloggers in those three days too.

        Like

  3. I appreciated this thoughtful blog on friendships. Friendships take all shapes and sizes. They can be topical friendships, as in, I have dance friends but we otherwise don’t socialize, and there are members of my community garden I really connect with but only see when I’m in the garden. And then there are the people I see once a year or even less often but our conversations easily fall into a deep and intimate place. The idea of a best friend requires ranking, and ranking requires all else being equal, and all things aren’t equal in the world of friendship!

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  4. I completely agree! all these rules take away with what friendship actually is and make it like a game you have to play with rules and regulations to follow. Human relationships are more complex and wonderful than these friendship rules
    Maria x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As you and I became blog buddies just yesterday, I can relate to this post!

    I don’t have besties (though I do sometimes refer to them as such when someone else asks me who they are – it’s just easier), I generally call them my favorite people. I have collected many over the years and while someone else may tell me that some of them no longer count because we rarely speak with each other anymore, I’d tell them to go push their own preconceived notions of friendship on someone else who cares.

    I’m not particularly a rule breaker, but I am certainly NOT a crowd follower either. It infuriates me when someone else swoops in and dictates how I ought to [be, think, do something] in my own private life. It still infuriates me in my professional life when someone tries to do dictate those things to me, but I’m much more controlled in my responses to those interactions. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heather, can I tell you I was looking forward to hearing your perspective on this post. I guess after we connected yesterday in such a natural, genuine manner you had me thinking about new friends and friendships in general and next thing you know all of this was spilling out of my head and onto my computer screen. Thank you for the inspiration, just goes to show you never know where your inspiration is coming from. I woke up yesterday knowing that I had to create a Blog post but I wasn’t entirely sure what I was gonna blog about.

      I like your perspective on the entire notion of “the rules of friendship”. Like I said, kindred spirits. There is a lot of similarities in the way we think…Just noticed we both have the word “ramblings” in our Blog description. 😏

      Liked by 1 person

      1. W00t! I am honored that our connection inspired a blog post although, to be honest, I suspected as much when I read your post! I think there are many varied reasons all of us blog, but we all share one: to connect with others and, hopefully, inspire them!

        I noticed that we both included ramblings in our blog description yesterday, but I had already pointed out so many other similarities, I didn’t want to seem creepy!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. My friend circle is very small, always has been. They’re spread out across 2 states (the places I have lived) and I don’t get to see them because of lack of $$$$$$….I see them on FB…..but I have three best friends (one I’m pissed at right now smh, apparently he likes to only call when things are going bad for him) and the other is in the military (she lives 90 mins away from me currently, we still don’t get to see each other; but she’s now going to be stationed 15 hrs away, UGH), and the third is my hubby( we had commonalities since day one and a fast romance, but he’s also going through the same thing with his friends).
    All of my friends I’ve known for 10 yrs or better and I really consider them family. But that’s what true friendship should be, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting reading, leave ne thinking, searching and analizing my friends to see how many best friends I realy have…… wow! maybe 2 best friends who will be there for me no matter what.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I enjoyed yet another post. Thanks Rac! This was thought provoking and inspiring of some well needed introspection. Which of the 5 categories do I think I fall in? Which of the 5 categories do my friends think I fall in? What kind of friend do I want to be? What kind of friend/person am I really?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Girl you raise some excellent points…got me thinking…too many rules about friendships and the criteria or terms to qualify them….hmmmmm. Honestly, I dont know a out the best friend thin….I am all about the friendship….each one is unique and I have no desire to label. I want to be true to my friends and expect the same. The world is full of fake friends and frenemies…so I am only focused on identifying the true and genuine ones…to journey with in this life. Loved your article…keep writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nicky, you’re so right, we have to focus on the true and genuine ones and forget about the whole criteria/qualification bit. My point exactly…I look forward to your comment every week, Lady. You do really make me want to write more. Thank you so much for the love. 😘

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome girl….let me tell you straight ….you have inspired me….writing for me has been therapeutic and an outlet…when I saw what you started I truly feel inspired. So my thanks go to you also😘

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I agree that the ‘rules’ are crap.
    Reading your post got me looking at my relationships with different eyes.

    I have 2 friends from high school to whom I speak maybe twice per year … no idea of the day to day happenings in their lives, yet I KNOW that if ever I need them, they will be there in the blink of an eye and will drop everything to help. It has happened.

    Another friend is like the day to my night… extremely outgoing and gregarious, yet we have really connected and truly value each other.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. This is so true.Like one of my best friends is an extrovert and I’m an introvert but we get along.We bring out the best from each other.I have one guy best friend and four girl best friends.And what?I am supposed to choose between them?No!Not to mention some awesome bloggers who became my friends in the matter of seconds and I have only been blogging for a month now!Amazing post,incredible writing and fantastic opinion!

    Liked by 2 people

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