Saturday, April 09, 2016

The Importance of Good Friends

I've never made friends easily. Even as a child, I migrated towards adults -- they were just more interesting to me and easier to interact with. Both my brother and I were mature for our ages, and pretty much everyone knew it. If I'm being totally frank, I was socially inept at a child, especially at church. I mean, I only saw those people once a week, and they didn't even like me. Why would I waste my time trying to befriend them? (Those were my thoughts at the time.) When I moved to a new school in third grade, I hated it for the first year. But there was one person who made that transition a little easier -- my first friend at Brentwood, G.C. She didn't have many friends either, so she sought me out and befriended me ... whether I wanted her friendship or not. We joke that she attacked me that first day of school. I'm glad she did, because she's one of my best friends to this day. 

        After securing this one vital friend, I learned to acquire friends through her. G.C. would make new friends, often the new girls each year, and slowly, by default, they would become my friends too. G.C. and I were inseparable, so if you were friends with her, you got stuck with me too. For all ten years that I was at Brentwood, that was how I made new friends. Some I became closer to than others, but typically, G.C. was my gateway to friends. 

      When I packed up and moved to Liberty, I no longer had G.C. there to make friends for me. Most of us actually had no idea how to make friends, because we'd spent 10, 11, 12 years together. We never needed to learn. But, on a whim, I joined the LU freshman Facebook page the summer before my first semester. There I spotted an exceptionally written paragraph detailing the author's fond memories of the beach near her home in Boston. And I thought, "Well, if she writes like that, I bet we could be friends." On another whim, I sent her a Facebook message about myself -- including the fact that I liked Marvel, Doctor Who, Sherlock, and other nerdy things. 

     Two-ish years later, M.F. and I are college besties. 

      We have our differences. Just yesterday, we agreed to disagree on the subject of feminism (she is a feminist and proud; I am an avowed complementarianist and very proud). We don't agree on everything. And that's okay. We challenge each other's viewpoints and help each other see issues from occasionally opposite sides. She's from Massachusetts; I'm from Texas. You can imagine how different our views might be. But I wouldn't trade her for the world. I can absolutely say she's one of my best friends, and I am super excited to be her roommate next semester. M.F. guided me through the uncertainty of possibly having a boy like me and gave me advice on how I should act around said boy. I didn't always take her advice, but hey, I appreciated it all the same. I hope I can return the favor for her when she finds her man. I've grown so much as a person from being her friend -- and that's how it should be. 

       Through M.F. accidentally scheduling us for dinner at the same time, I also met S.M. She happens to have my same exact major (which is really rare, because we only know of one other person on campus who has it), and I'm excited to take a class with her next semester. We're able to discuss scripts and professors, and we both love critiquing movies. Likewise, she also provides great insight into politics for us, and I've loved getting to know her better. She shows me a different perspective on life as well -- and the dynamic between the three of us is fantastic. It was a blast spending Spring Break with her and M.F. It's not often you get a trio of friends who work so well together. I'm blessed to have both of them. 

Which brings me to the next friend I want to discuss. Boys have always been a bit of mystery to me. I was good friends with my brother when he was still at home, but I never had any real "guy friends." I had some that were fairly close acquaintances, but beyond a few group outings, we never did anything together. I always wished I had some guy friends, but I never did. Now, lovely readers, that has changed. One of my best friends has become J.S. ... who conveniently happens to be my boyfriend. Yesterday we went up to our university's ski slope and hiked behind the mountain to see what was up there. On the way down, he stopped me and said, "I'm so glad we're such good friends." And it's true. We really are good friends, besides just dating. Even before we were dating, we hung out a lot all the time, and I always looked forward to seeing him. That's never happened with a guy before. Conversation is easy. Jokes are common. We encourage each other and give advice just like regular friends do. It's awesome. J.S. challenges me every day to be a better person, a better Christian, and a better student. He is one of my bests friends, and I am so blessed to have him in my life. 

       Without any of that, I almost question the point of having friends. If they're not going to challenge one another in the hard areas and be there for you when the storms come, why do they bother sticking around during the good times? Friends are one of God's greatest gifts to us. They're there to do life with us, encourage us, kindle change in us, and stick with us when times are tough. We have bad days. We break down. We make mistakes. But God brings these amazing people into our lives to help us, and we in turn are there for them. Friendship is one of the most rewarding and incredible symbiotic relationships out there. 
      And I am thankful every day for the wonderful people He has placed in my life. 

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