I use to have this list of friends that I always believed would be in my wedding one day – it was a list of eight girlfriends and family, because eight is my lucky number – at one point in high school, I even had a guy on the list. But of course as years have gone by, that list has evolved because for one reason or another, I’ve become closer with other friends and have lost touch with those no longer on “the list,” Ironically, I was actually a bridesmaid in two of my former friends’ weddings with whom I have lost touch with.
I think of a few of those girlfriends no longer on that list, one of which still keeps in touch with my sister and I with my former friends’ brother. It saddens me, truth be told, because in one instance, pride got the best of both of us and we refused to talk to each other despite our family’s trying to encourage us to be a little more forgiving; other instances we were victims of miscommunication and perhaps no longer wanting to put the effort to salvage a close friendship. I loved these girls, we had a lot of great times together – they were like sisters – and I believed that we would be friends forever.
But forever was not meant to be. And while I think about these missed girlfriends on occasion, I look at the friends that I am surrounded by now, my friends who know my heart and soul, the ones I can call any time of the day or night; who despite my imperfections, my craziness – always give me unconditional love and support. They are honest, but loving. They will at times affirm my craziness, but they will love me any way, because they know that at my core, I am generous to a fault, well-intended and that no one is perfect. Even in the midst of our rough patches, because great friends will fight, we always come back to each other. For these friends I am so grateful and honored to have them in my life. In turn, I would do anything for them because they are family to me, I trust them with my life.
Perhaps that is the recipe of a great friendship – trust and love – but isn’t that the recipe for any great relationship? Love is trusting someone with your worst self because you know that they will love you any way. A great friend will tell you when they think you’re wrong, or when they don’t support your decision, but they will always support you, the person. So why can’t trust and love be forever? Some would say you just grow apart; you have nothing more to talk about. But I recently met a friend who challenged me with the question, “If you’re friends, how can you just STOP being friends?”
When I reflect on my two girlfriends from long ago and of recent circumstances, the core of what broke those relationships was fear, my fear of abandonment. I feared that whether it be my friend getting married, my friend enlisting in the military or my friend moving to Los Angeles, I would lose my best friends, I would be abandoned and no longer remembered. This is what I feared, but it wasn’t reality. Because I forgot what I brought to the table, what I brought to our friendship. And when you can’t communicate your fears accurately to those involved, and instead respond with hurtful actions and words, miscommunication no doubt ensues and unfortunately the demise of that friendship.
Luckily for me I am on the path of enlightment to learn from my mistakes and to catch myself when my fears seem to be getting the best of me. I was once told by one of my best friends that they couldn’t imagine me not ever being in their life, even in the midst of our most horrible arguments. It was the nicest thing that any friend could ever say to me and brought tears to my eyes because I had never felt so much love. My fear of abandonment still lingers, but I have to trust and believe that despite all the challenges, some of which I know I created from my own insecurities, that when this friend said these words, he can believe and trust again. I would love to have him on my bridesmaids list.