I’ve always looked back fondly on the nostalgia filled saying, “A good friend will come bail you out of jail, but a true friend will be sitting next to you saying…’Damn, that was fun!.”

Some of you may remember that I’m a big follower of the philosophies of Ferris Bueller and Tommy Pickles when it comes to breaking the rules. However, there are certain things in life in which breaking the rules doesn’t work, and one of those happens to be that of being a good friend.

Me? I’ve got the greatest friends in the world. I love them to death. Every time I leave the country I carry a stack of 4X6’s with me so I can reminisce about our good times. It’s perfect for long train rides. But lately, I’ve been seeing changes in how friendship works. I’ve been learning how and why certain friends are fading in my life, and why others are clearly going to be by my side through the rest of this crazy ride.

THE PROGRESSION OF FRIENDSHIP

Remember how back in high school our friends were our lives? Through thick and thin during those reckless years of teenage angst, nagging parents, and getting our older siblings to buy us beer, we had our friends by our sides and that was all that mattered.

In college we started growing up and thinking more on an individual basis, but we were still in it together and we were all in the same rocky but fun boat. We were cramming for exams, piling up those class credits, and drinking too much cheap beer on weekends.

Things start to change after the good old college years. We aren’t up against our parents or our exams anymore. We don’t care about sneaking around with beers and drinking jungle juice out of red cups anymore. We have our life to worry about, and we want to make sure we do what it takes to make it a great one.

And that’s when life starts to get a little tricky. Suddenly we’re off trying to make something of ourselves and those nights when all that mattered was sitting around with friends drinking a beer and talking about life are now becoming few and far between. It’s hard to find the time and it’s difficult to keep in touch. This is sadly when friendships begin to fade.

WITHOUT MY FRIENDS, I’D BE LOST

You see, me and my friends, we used to laugh a lot thinking that everything always would remain. Well, certain things, contrary to our naïve expectations, did change. But other things – the important things – didn’t.

Time and space change. Circumstances change. Life changes. But what’s at the root of your friendship never changes as long as you stay true to yourself.

What do I mean by staying true to yourself? Well, for me, I firmly believe that I would be a lost, stupid, lonely, loser without my friends. They’ve been there for me when I was winning in life and when I was loosing in life. They cheer me on and push me when I’m doing great, and they tell me, “Lauren WTF were you thinking?!” when I’m not doing so great. It’s all about loyalty. It’s loyalty to yourself to stay who you are at the root, and loyalty to your friends to never forget that they are the ones that helped you form that root. It’s these kinds of friendships and connections that are irreplaceable and leave a lasting footprint on our lives.

For instance, my main man Adrien  whom I’ve been friends with since the awkward days of 6th grade just visited me this week after having been away in France for the past year and a half. He and I went to separate colleges in different states, have lived in different countries in opposite hemispheres, and go months to even years without seeing one another. But when we do, it’s like nothing has changed. We’re still cracking the same jokes, still acting like goofballs, still having great conversations, and still have the same connection we’ve always had. (I Love you Man!)

These are the friends that you can be your true self with. They put life in perspective for you just by being with you.

Why would you ever want to let that fade away?!

ARE YOUR FRIENDS FADING INTO THE BACKGROUND?

Aristotle once told us, “The desire for friendship comes quickly. Friendship does not.” I think Aristotle was onto something here. But I also think we could add something to his words of wisdom:

“The foundation of a lasting friendship comes easily. Making it last does not.”

I’ve seen friends come and go from my own life and the live’s of others because one or the other forgot that it’s a two way street. We get caught up. We get busy. We have our priorities and our commitments and our responsibilities.  These things never go away.

But with a little effort there is ALWAYS TIME for your friends. No ifs. No ands. No buts.

And what do ya know? If we keep our friends in our lives those priorities, commitments and responsibilities get a lot easier to take on.

SUMMING OF FRIENDSHIP WITH A CALL TO ACTION

Ask yourself, “Are you being the great friend you expect yourself to be?” Have you taken time out of your busy schedule to connect with those that help to make you who you are? When is the last time you called or sent a brief “Hey, how’s life?” email to your old best friends? Have you blown off the last few times a friend has invited you out because you were just too busy even though you really weren’t? Are you there for your friends? More importantly, do they know it? And do they know just how important they are to you?

Without our friends, we got nothin’. So, let’s not take them for granted. Rather, let’s make it know that without them, we’d be lost, stupid, lonely losers. 😉 All it takes is a little effort and a little love.

What does friendship mean to you?

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About Lauren Rains

Hi my name is Lauren Rains. I write about the human experience. Through thick and thin, I’m dedicated to growth, adventure, integrity, and love. The Mad To Live is based on my pursuits, experiments, research, and lessons of challenge and triumph in all areas of life, including being entrepreneur, a writer, a philosopher, a traveler, a teacher, a student, a creative, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a significant other, a stranger and the list goes on. At the end of the day, I believe human beings are here for two reasons: 1.) to love one another with total acceptance, and 2.) to see what we’re made of as we create the possibilities for an abundant life for ourselves and for others. No more bullshit, let's just enjoy our lives.

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