I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships, and the labels we give them. Childhood friends, college friends, work friends, mom friends…you get the idea. I cringe at the term “friend for a season,” even though I’ve had my fair share of them. You probably have, too. Someone comes into your life at just the right time, a relationship grows, and then one day you realize the passing of time has passed your friendship along with it.
What makes a friendship stick? For me, the most important friendship of my young life began over a sticky bottle of glue. Kelly was new to our 4th grade class, and if that wasn’t hard enough, her glue bottle leaked all over her box of crayons. Our teacher stood at the front of the room and asked if anyone had an extra plastic bag for Kelly to use. I raised my hand, and that plastic bag sealed our friendship. Kelly quickly became my best friend. We braided each other’s hair, shared our secrets, and wore two halves of the same heart around our necks. Like that friendship necklace, we were only complete when we were together.
Halfway through our sophomore year of high school, Kelly’s family moved away. I have two memories of crying my heart out in my mom’s bed, and this one is my first. As she stroked my hair and rubbed my back, my world felt ripped apart. This was not my friend for a season. This was my best friend. Nothing would ever be the same.
Change has a way of creating a new normal, and time helped me be okay with that. Like the simple song my mom sang to me, Kelly’s friendship taught me there’s always room in my heart for one more friend: “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.”
Kelly is my gold. But you know what? Silver is priceless to me as well. Silver friends walk with me in the here and now. We share common bonds and interests, such as raising kids and connecting over coffee. It’s my silver friends who understand what I’m going through right now, without needing to know all the places I’ve been.
Who are the gold friends in your life? Have you told them how much they mean to you? It can be easy to take gold friends for granted, since they’ve always been there. Reach out to them, no matter where they are today. One of the best qualities of a golden friendship is the ability to pick up where you left off, and feel as if you haven’t been apart at all.
Think about the silver friends in your life, too. Is there one who could use an encouraging word from you? Maybe you need to share a burden of your own with a friend who understands. A silver friend is very good at letting you know you’re not alone. An added bonus? As the years go by, a silver friendship can turn golden. Don’t miss it!
So, what makes a friendship stick? I’m still figuring that one out. But I believe it starts with valuing our friends like the silver and gold they already are. And always keep room in your heart for one more!