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I recently read a quote that said, “Sorry I’m late, I didn’t want to come.” It resonated. Not because I don’t love my friends. I do. Fiercely. Wholeheartedly. But, I’m that friend. You know the one . . . the last commit, the first to leave. The one who chooses option C when everyone else chooses options A or B.

The one who doesn’t initiate the plans. And struggles to show up to the ones that are made even though they are with the people closest to my heart.

The one who politely declines opportunities for reasons that are sometimes driven solely by reasons unclear to everyone, including herself.

The one, who in the wise words of someone who knows me better than most is the “highest low-maintenance friend” she has. A title I’m not sure I want to hold but makes me smile nonetheless.

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

I think about it often. Because I wasn’t always that friend. There were many years of my life when I was the friend known as the yes to everyone and everything friend. Setting the itinerary. Ordering another bottle of wine. Even rallying people to the after-party.

Somewhere in the midst of those years, I traded the comfort of my hometown for a new city where I knew exactly one personthe one I am now married to.

Late nights out, turned into nights alone on the couch, wondering where my friendship path would even take me. Then it turned into nights snuggled up with little ones watching movies, trading dinner at the newest restaurant for chicken nuggets and Little Einsteins. That turned into nights with not-so-little ones, sitting in the bleachers watching their games.

Add in some COVID years to solidify a homebody status, plus a job I get up for at 5 a.m. that emotionally and physically exhausts me into throwing on my pajamas at 5 p.m. any chance I can get, and it’s a combo platter of “maybe next time.”

And so I’ve turned into that friend. And it’s hard to be that friend because I value and treasure every moment with the very special people I have found to walk through this world with. I would do anything and everything for them and always have the best time when I talk myself out of getting under my down comforter and instead, getting myself the door. I love them in the deepest, truest, and luckiest way that one can.

And I know that even though I’m that friend, they love me back. I definitely don’t take it for granted. They put up with my nonsense and love me in spite of it. They understand that I sometimes show up more emotionally than I do physically. And they still don’t give up on me. They know I hit my social peak between 6-7 p.m. and am ready for bed by 8. And, while once in a while they can talk me into a late-night dance party that shuts a place down on a girls trip (okay, maybe more like once in a blue moon), they also don’t fight me when I sit out the late-night party.

RELATED: Give Me Friends Who Aren’t Keeping Up with the Joneses

We are rooted together in the small and big moments that have been braided together over the years. Pregnancies, babies, losing parents, career changes, sending kids off to college, and into the greater world of adulthood. Embracing all of these different stages across time and showing up in the best ways we can at the moment. Standing in solidarity as the future unfolds.

After all, isn’t that what friendship is really about? Aren’t we all that friend in some way? Bringing one thing or another to the circle, turning all of it into a special kind of magic. So, yes. I am that friend, and I’m so grateful to have those friends to cherish.

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Amy Keyes

Amy Keyes is a middle school teacher and freelance writer in St. Paul. When she's not cheering too loudly while spectating at her teenagers' sports, she's running, working out, binge watching recommended series on tv, or hanging out with her dog.

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