Going through my friends list on Facebook, I noticed that two of my former co-workers have obviously "de-friended" me. While I never had much contact with one of them anyway, the other one was quite surprising. For the last (almost) two years we have shared an office, enjoyed quite some laughs, and attended birthday parties for each others' kids and met for an occasional play date. I actually considered this girl a friend, but noticed that something was wrong as soon as I started my maternity leave. Except of a comment on Facebook I heard nothing at all from her, while both of my other friends at work told me that she was behaving very odd. When I first visited at work after Violet was born she slipped out the back door without even saying hello or meeting Violet. The second time I visited to go out for lunch with my two friends and to pick up all my personal belongings from my desk she barely managed to say hi and good-bye, and didn't even look at Violet.
What happened? Tell me if you know, because I don't. But the whole incident definitely made me think about what true friendship means. There are so many types of friendships, the way they start and develop. I met my best friend when we both started 5th grade in high school in Germany. In the beginning, we ignored each other. When we ended up in the same class in 7th grade, we still didn't care for each other and had completely different circles of friends. In the beginning of 8th grade we ended up sitting next to each other in class and buried the hatchet after a few days of trying to ignore each other. After only a couple of weeks we were almost inseparable at school and also met each other outside class, while still maintaining our separate circles of friends. After high school we ended up studying in different cities and only saw each other a few times a year, emailed about once a week, but still were best friends. She was the one whose opinion I sought when it came to my shotgun wedding during my last year of college, since she's always been the reason in our relationship, while I was much more impulsive. Once I had moved to the US with my husband, we almost became closer than we had been since high school times, emailing almost daily. She came visiting us shortly after our first daughter was born after not seeing each other in almost 2 years. After that it took us another year until we saw each other again in Germany, and as I write this, another year has passed. We both cannot wait to live closer together again and be able to have an occasional night out with fast food and a movie as we used to during high school and college days.
Another close friend of mine I "met" under very unusual circumstances. In fact, we have not met in person at all yet, but still I consider her a close friend. She contacted me while we were both pregnant (she with her first, I with my second) to ask me some questions about the visa procedures. I had gone through the whole ordeal a few years earlier, and gladly gave her a few tips. Our emails started getting longer and more personal. We talked about our pregnancies; we were thrilled when we both found out that we would be having girls, with due dates only a few days apart; we gave each other ideas about names; we talked about our problems and our plans for the future. A few weeks ago we both gave birth to our girls within 3 days from each other, and now can't wait for us to move to Germany so we can finally meet in person.
Even though I am not someone with a large circle of friends, I am very close with the people I call my friends. Some friends here in Washington have truly become our family, and we are sad to leave them behind. I am sad not to return to work and meet my two friends there every day. Since we all three had grown up in a different country, we had a lot of things in common and I am very thankful to have met those wonderful girls, from whom I had the opportunity to learn so much. I will miss the people from our Friday night D&D group, who in fact have become our family here in Washington. All these people are the reason why we will always come back and visit! You will always be in our hearts, and the girls will be looking forward to our visits as soon as we board our planes back home to Germany!
While I would never be without any of my wonderful friends, I have no time and energy to waste for fair-weather friends. If you are only around me as long as everything runs its path smoothly, but are gone at the first sign of inconvenience, I definitely have no need of you. Friendship for me means to be there for my girls at 3:30 in the morning if they need me; to listen to their problems or just random rants over and over again; to offer honest advice to any question; to be there through good times and bad times; and beyond all, to always be honest with them, no matter what. If this is not for you, fine, I can live my life without you and won't shed a tear.