You know that carefree friend you have who’s always smiling and always makes people laugh even when she’s having a bad day? Wait, does she even have bad days? Yeah, those people are great, and they probably get invited to a lot of parties, but they’re not me.

Look, I will be in your corner.

When I love people, I love them all the way. I will plan your baby shower right down to the last detail. I will bring you food and send you flowers when someone dies. I will watch your kids when you move. I will pray for you every time I think about you. I will fight for you when someone does you wrong.

I will get in your pain with you and stay there. But when I am also hurting, it will show.

I am super sensitive and wildly serious.

Small talk is never enough for me. I don’t just want to know where you bought your purse, I want to know your hopes, your dreams, and your struggles. Please don’t just show me your public appearance because I want to know and value your soul.

I am just enough of an extrovert to want friends desperately but then not know what to do with them once I have them. You see, making friends is remarkably easy but keeping them is unfathomably hard.

RELATED: It’s OK To Have Loved and Lost Friends

I can’t even count how many times I’ve felt like I was part of a tight-knit group of friends only to discover I’m actually an outsider when I start being left out of their meetings. I’m never quite sure if the problem is I am too much for people or not quite enough.

No one told me adult relationships would be just as hard as adolescent ones. (And I’m glad because that probably would’ve just depressed me.) In truth, they’re even harder in some ways.

I shouldn’t be surprised that having young children, long-distance caregiving, and carrying around a load of grief and mental health issues for years has only compounded my struggle to maintain friendships. But that doesn’t make it hurt any less.

I’m finally realizing the only friends I’ve managed to keep long-term are the ones who’ve also experienced trauma—the ones who’ve lived through the pain of abuse, anxiety and depression, or profound loss.

RELATED: Life is Too Short For Fake Cheese and Fake Friends

They understand small talk isn’t enough because we’ve all been dealt too much hard stuff in our lives to go back to playing pretend. And I thank God every day for these brave souls.

So, no, I will never be the fun one. But I will always be your fiercest friend.

(I do want to know where your purse is from, by the way. But that’s only because knowing your favorite things helps me to know the real you.)

Previously published on HuffPost

Friendship can be tough, but it doesn’t have to be! We love the encouragement and insight in Friendish. Too busy to sit and read? You can listen here, on Audible.

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Lauren Flake

Lauren Flake is a wife, mom to two girls, watercolor artist, seventh generation Texan, and early onset Alzheimer's daughter. She is the author and co-illustrator of two award-winning children's books for grieving preschoolers, Where Did My Sweet Grandma Go? and Where Did My Sweet Grandpa Go?: A Preschooler's Guide to Losing a Loved One. She loves green tea, dark chocolate, and collecting all things turquoise.

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