On Friendship

On Friendship

Trick question: What’s better than Oprah? (Answer: Oprah and Gayle.) Because friends make everything better. Here are 11 comments that made me cry multiple times while putting this post together…

On traditions:

“I started a tradition of celebrating ‘friendiversaries’ when we hit big milestones – five years of friendship, 10 years, 15, 20, 25. It’s incredible to think that sometimes these people have been in your life for decades. We’ll decide on something – a picnic, a spa treatment, an overnight trip – and have quality one-on-one time without kids, partners, pets, etc. Highly encourage others to start up the tradition!” — Cindy

“My mom held a weekly soup night all through the winters. All our friends at school had a standing invitation. She invested in a few crockpots and would cook two different types of soup and put out bread. Sometimes four people would show up and sometimes 30, but our friends absolutely loved it. I’m almost thirty now and anytime I run into an old high school friend, they’ll say without fail, ‘Remember Soup Night? Man, that was the best!'” — Anna

On Friendship

On friendship through the years:

“As a kid and teen, I was a real steamroller. I’ll never forget my best friend calling me out for my failures to listen. We took a long walk and she told me how much she wanted to trust that she could talk to me and I’d really listen, and she asked me to change. Ten years later, I still think of that conversation as one of the most loving gestures anyone has made to me (and I told her husband it’s the kind of love he could look forward to forever, in my toast on her wedding night). It’s a huge investment to ask someone you love to love you better, and then to stick around while they learn to do it. That lifelong friend has formed my world.” — M.M.

“Last year, my four- and five-year-olds asked me how I met their ‘Auntie Kate.’ It struck me that I’d been asked so many times about how I met my husband, but never about one of the great friends of my life. It brought me to tears to pause and think about the importance and mutuality of our actions in those first moments of friendship, and what that’s meant over the last 16 years.” — Candice

On breakups (and reunions):

“Friendships are love stories that have complexities, as well. My childhood friend and I remained close for decades, going to college together, having boyfriends who were roommates, then living in neighboring neighborhoods — until we had a falling out in our late 20s. There was silence for a long time — through major milestones: weddings, children. I often felt a void; I would see things I knew she would love or appreciate, but I came to accept that our friendship was part of my past. Then one night, my husband encouraged me to have some ‘me’ time. I was walking aimlessly in Manhattan, with no destination, and suddenly found my old friend on a corner, both of us looking at each other in disbelief. We hugged. We exchanged phone numbers. Later she texted me, saying she’d love to catch up over coffee. Coffee turned into hours of talking through everything from wedding planning to labor contractions to pre-K applications. She’s a piece of home I can’t find anywhere else.” — Lorraine

On being there through hard times:

“At a very scary time in my life, I was quite ill and navigating the healthcare system, and I broke down talking to one of my girlfriends. We were sitting cross-legged facing each other at either ends of the couch and she crawled towards me, held my face in her hands and said, ‘I won’t let you leave me.’ I had a husband and family, but knowing my friend was there for me helped me so much. I knew I was loved.” — Robin

“When I was getting divorced and my world was falling apart, my best girlfriend said, ‘Let’s buy a house and move in together! Let’s raise our kids as siblings. We’ll take turns doing laundry and cooking. We’ll do yoga together every night.’ It was just a fantasy for so many reasons, but at that moment it was PERFECT. It made me realize I had a ‘wife’ and I always would, one that could not and would not divorce me. Female friendships are critical before, during and after the ‘happily ever after.’” — Erika

On making friends:

“My four-year-old is basically a professional friend-maker. She will walk up to any kid at a playground and say ‘Do you want to be my friend?’ It’s almost always a yes, and within five minutes they’re happily playing. Here’s the kicker: When it’s time to leave, she’ll find the kid’s relevant grownup and ASK FOR THEIR NUMBER. So often we avoid connecting with people because we don’t want to seem overenthusiastic or ‘weird,’ but what’s more flattering than having someone say they think you’re great and would like to meet again? Friendship starts with friendliness, not coolness.” — Sophia

“My young adult son has developmental disabilities that are difficult to describe, but in a phrase: he’s the most joyful, thoughtful, friendly ’12-year-old’ in a 25-year-old body! We can be at a mall, or in the hardware store, and out of nowhere, someone waves, smiles or shouts with a surprised look of pleasure at spotting him! Wallace grins and gives them an excited ‘Hey!’ right back. When I ask, ‘Who was that?’ It’s almost always the same answer: ‘My friend!’ After all these years of chance encounters with ‘friends’ everywhere we go, I’ve concluded that absolutely everyone he rubs shoulders with truly is his friend.” — Jo

On friend love:

“One time I was trying to access our mutual credit card account online and I couldn’t log in because my husband set up all the passwords. One of the security questions was ‘Who is your best friend?’ After trying EVERY GUY HE’D EVER BEEN A GROOMSMAN FOR IN THE HISTORY OF WEDDINGS, I found myself unreasonably annoyed and shot him a text that said ‘FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WHO IS YOUR BEST FRIEND.’ Ten seconds later my phone buzzed with the exact answer I needed. ‘Megan,’ it said. (Me.) Well played, husband. Well. Played.” — Megan

“I think the world of my best friend. And I think it’s significant that we’re bound by nothing except choosing each other over and over and over again. I love her not because I’m expected to — I want to. And I want to do it well.” — Kendra

On Friendship

Do you have any stories or advice you’d add? As always, we’d love to hear.

P.S. An ode to female friendship and 15 funny reader comments.