Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship.  How can you tell the difference between a good friend and a bad one?  The ones that will last forever versus the ones that are for right now or have already expired? 

I’m not sure if there is a right answer for this because everyone is different – every friendship is different – but I feel like it is simpler than it seems.  Your friends are people who are there for you.  Period.  How they, themselves can express that, or how they choose to, is another story.  There may be circumstances that are beyond their control, ones that physically limit their roles in your life. 

There are a few people that I can think of who fit into this category; one being my friend John.  He and I have known each other for over half of our lives.  For a long time, he was my go-to for advice – both personal and about guys.  I didn’t always like what he had to say, but a lot of the time he was right (okay, most of the time).  He’s in the army so there are long stretches where I don’t hear from him, but that doesn’t make him any less of a friend.  Thank goodness I have branched-out a bit, or who knows where I’d be.  It also helps that I have a boyfriend that I can talk to about anything, one who actually listens to me, doesn’t judge me and won’t hesitate to tell me when I’m wrong or right.

Then there are the other kind of friends, the ones that are only around when it is convenient for them, ones that are there for the positive things but avoid the negatives.  I’ve had friends like these, and I think everyone has.  Sometimes it takes a while to recognize the signs, but once you see them, there really is no sense to ignore.  Your friends don’t all have to be your best friends for them to count.  You can have bus friends, shopping friends, coffee friends, yoga friends…the list is endless really.  Just because they may not all have a significant role in your life doesn’t mean they are bad friends.  The bad ones are the ones that don’t act like friends, the ones that you need to let go of.  Originally, I had started this post towards the end of January, after a huge fight with someone who was supposed to be a good friend.  I had been in her wedding party, attended her child’s christening, even hosted her and her then two-year-old in my very un-baby friendly apartment (yes, things were broken and my only set of house-keys was lost temporarily).  The fight was on-going, spanning over a month, and really unnecessary, but too many words were said that could not be taken back.  I had been there for her when she needed me, but the one time that I could not adhere to something, she couldn’t handle it; the fact that I had tried to be accommodating didn’t matter.  It was upsetting to lose her as a friend, but in the end it was the only decision to be made.

I believe that everyone enters your life for a reason, to teach you a lesson that you would otherwise not have learned.  Some people will leave your life after you learn those lessons and some will continue onward with you on your journey, be there with you for the good times and the bad, as you close chapters in your life and start new ones.  There are some friends that I have had forever, that I’ll always keep a special place for in my heart no matter the distance that grows between us, and some that will fade away into the night and become past memories.  Friendships do not have to last forever to be good, but they have to be true friends to last forever.

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