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We met because we were dating the same guy. Well, not at the same time. In fact, over the eight years of high school and college we sort of traded him back and forth a couple of times. Weird I know, but what would normally have destroyed a friendship between girls actually cemented ours. I guess we decided that in this case, our friendship was more important than any guy—even though he really was gorgeous! 

It’s been twenty years, and though we now place our relationships with our husbands first, our friendship remains strong. But it hasn’t been easy. High school and college is great for sustaining relationships. You see each other daily—sometimes even live in the same dorm or the same room, travel with the same varsity teams, get together for a quick lunch in the cafe or ditch class to catch a movie. Of course there is always a lot of drama, but you certainly don’t have to try very hard to spend time with your friends during your adolescent years.

But then comes graduation, and no matter how much you promise you’ll be B.F.F. (best friends forever) things just change. One friend moves away or chooses a different college. Another friend marries and seems to be in a different “place” now that they aren’t single. Different jobs, different time zones, different choices can make it very easy to not stay in touch. This doesn’t mean that your friendships weren’t real and true and incredible—in fact I still believe that some of the relationships I developed in high school are some of the most meaningful I’ve ever had. But it’s just what happens. Absence does not always make the heart grow fonder. And more often than not, friends that are out of sight become out of mind.

Choose Well

So how do you fight against this? Firstly, choose well. Not every friend I had in high school was walking along a path that I wanted to follow. Some of those friends were perfect for that time and place, but I didn’t necessarily want to pursue the life they were shooting for. So, I chose a few people who had the characteristics that would support me as I lived my life. For me those characteristics were things like: commitment to a real relationship with God, interest in work that was meaningful to the world, desire for marriage and a family one day, and the love of travelling and eating good food! 

But secondly, it takes a huge commitment on both of your parts to maintain a friendship. I’ve been living in England for the last three years and was only able to see Merrilee for a handful of days during that time. And now I’m living in Japan! Just as far away! But when I was home last month, I flew down to spend the day with her and we spent time talking about how we were going to stay connected. We discussed regular phone calls, emails and video chatting. But most important, during our time together, I was reminded that I still really want and need her love and support and encouragement in my life which is worth making the effort for. And there’s no one I’d rather have help me finish all of the chocolate fondue!

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By Joelle Yamada. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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