This is a confession.

I have always had a hard time with friendship.

It’s not that I can’t make friends…and it’s not that I can’t keep friends… It’s just never been something that came easily for me.

In high school, I hadn’t really decided on who I was yet. That always makes friendship difficult. When you aren’t sure of your own values, how can you possibly be sure of what you look for in your friends? The friend-base I had fluctuated quite a bit…Some friends hurt me, some made decisions I didn’t agree with. I eventually learned not to rely on them.

Let me clarify a little here… When I say ‘friends’, I’m talking about besties. You know, everyone talks about their best friends in high school. The ones they spent every day with…braided each other’s hair in study hall, blah, blah, blah. Not me. I had plenty of friends, sure. I just didn’t have anyone I completely trusted. I can’t even tell you how many of those broken-in-half-best-friend-necklaces I went through.

So, I quickly learned to put my social trust elsewhere…the ever-present boyfriend. Everything seemed to revolve around whether I had a boyfriend or not. I take that back…everything seemed to revolve around which boyfriend I had at the time. For some wacko reason I thought that the boyfriend basket was the one that deserved all my eggs.

And by eggs I mean figurative eggs in a figurative basket. Not…well…my eggs. Yuck.

All of these factors led to a pretty terrible friendship-related experience in college. Long story short, my lack of definable personality and social value-system (and, let’s face it, jelly-spine) allowed me to be completely ‘mind-effed’ by a very toxic, very manipulative roommate. I’m incredibly lucky to have gained a second chance at friendship with someone I thought was a long-gone casualty of this crappy time in my life, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Somehow, out of all of this, I managed to come out of college with some very solid, very wonderful besties. And I’ve finally been able to put my finger on the main quality that made these amazing ladies stick:

Understanding.

I know that my friends will understand when I can’t hang out, or talk on the phone, or have to cancel last minute. They understand that this is Life, and we can’t always have a good explanation for it.

Sometimes, understanding means that you’re going to take a significant break from each other. Months and years may pass, but when you’ve got the right friends, it’s only a break. When the time is right you’ll always come back, one of you carrying a bottle of wine, the other carrying a game of MarioKart.

Friends sometimes go through periods where they have to travel very different paths. This is an area I’m currently having a hard time dealing with when it comes to understanding. The path I’m on right now is one that involves (but is not limited to) working from home, being married, and having a baby. Not all of my friends are traveling down this particular road with me, and that can be hard.

I have to come to terms with the fact that not all of my friends have babies and, consequently, have different priorities.
I have to remember that friends get busy, just like I get busy, and that we can’t always talk as much as I want.
I have to remember that they are understanding of me, and that I need to be understanding in return.

But mostly,
I have to remember that my friends will always be there for me when it’s most important.

Like I said, friendship hasn’t always been an easy thing for me, and at this time in my life I’m finally able to be grateful for that. The ones who managed to stick with me while I discovered who I am (and also that happiness does not, in fact, rest solely on who you’re dating) are amazing gifts, and I hope to present them with the same understanding that they’ve given me all these years.

Am I the only one who struggles with this? I’d love to hear you guys’ thoughts.