Wednesday, April 6, 2016

dear friends of my friends

Dear friends of my friends,

Hello! I just wanted to take a second and say I'm so glad we're friends. I mean...friends of friends.

A funny thing happens when you leave a place. Did you know you don't get to take your friends with you? Their lives continue on and they make new friends. Or they get closer with old friends. And good for them, why shouldn't they? They are awesome, and apparently you recognize it, too.

I watch your friendship bloom and grow from a distance. I see your pictures on her Instagram, I read the hilarious things you've said that he quoted on Facebook. I wish WE could be friends! It's too bad you moved into town the same time I left...I think we would have gotten along great. Scratch that, I know it. Because my people are your people. They're our people. So that makes us some sort of friends...right?

I give in and just add you on Facebook. You pop up all the time in my feed, so why not just make it official? If you hear as many stories about me as I hear about you, we're pretty much already there. There's not an correct official "relationship status" for us. The bots just tell us we're friends. Okay? Yeah, I'm okay with that.

Oh hey! I'm coming to visit. I live in a cold state and I miss the warm one you all live in and need I say more? But how does that work? I'm not part of your group. I know them, and now we are Facebook friends, but how does that translate to real life?

I don't know, but it just does. Why did I worry? Turns out, you're pretty awesome in real life too. I shouldn't be surprised my friends have good taste.

We hang out one night. The next morning. Later that night. And once more before I leave. I like you guys more and more. Because even without knowing you, I know you, and we skip that awkward get-to-know you phase. We jump straight into making fun of each other ganging up on our friends and scaring around corners and sharing ice cream and hugs goodnight. Yeah, the more we hang out, the more I like you. I want to bottle up the night and squeeze your group in a suitcase and take you home. What you have here I don't have there yet.

When I moved, I was so sad to leave my friends. But I knew they would be okay because at least they had each other. And then you came along, making their circle wider and lives richer and laughs deeper. I love the way you seamlessly fit in with all of them. I'm sad again that I can't be there with you all forever.

I find out that this weekend isn't actually the norm, and you don't really all hang out as much as you did this weekend. It was special because I was in town, and because there was a birthday party, and because these were "special occasions" to bring you together. But you all loved it. You tell me I need to come back more often. We need more special occasions.

But it wasn't me. It's you, collectively, all y'all. And it's neither practical or affordable for me to come back every other weekend, as much as my heart wants to. But why does it take a birthday or a visit to make an occasion "special"? I'm wondering because what I saw between all of you was so special and I don't think you even know it. 

I will fight to the death saying you are SO lucky to have them. I hope you know it. But now that we are friends, I see how lucky they are to have you. You're around each other every day and life is crazy and this specialness often goes unnoticed. But I was gone and I came back and I noticed. You can try telling me the whole group doesn't hang out all the time, and often pairs of you in that group don't even get along, but I love what happened when you tried. Whatever disagreements or distance is between some of you, I know you could turn it off in an instant if one of you needed another. Like I said, it's special.

So dear friends and friends of friends, can I just encourage you to make more special occasions? I think you need to hang out more. Live life together while you have each other. Shoot off a confetti cannon because it's Tuesday and you've got your crazy socks on. Eat tacos and wear sombreros on Cinco de Mayo. Ooh, and buy a piƱata for that one. Share pit and peak of the week over a giant pot of cheesy potato casserole (because is there a better comfort on the planet?).

Just be intentional, and make it a priority. I wasn't the first to leave, and I won't be the last. Your circle will continue to stretch and shrink. I just hope for you that it is stronger with each rebound. I pray you see how special you are. I can't wait to visit again because like I said before, I'm so glad we're friends of friends.

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