I am not a good girl friend in the sense that I don't know how to be friends with girls. 

I have never been the girl with a click of girl friends. In high school and college, I always stuck close to one or two girls and these girls always seemed to be the perfect-fit kind of friends. We were similar enough to understand each other but different enough that it kept things fun.

After Blake and I got married and we moved away from our pre-marriage friends, I was on the lookout for that perfect-fit friend. I had always had one previously so I expected to continue on in the same vein. Welcoming our first children in Arizona was a beautiful adventure, but honestly it was a lonely one. Blake was busy, like I-rarely-saw-him busy. Family was far away. And friendships were hard to form because I thought I needed to find this perfect-fit friend. Looking back, I can now see that I had some awesome Arizona friends, but I had such high expectations, none of them could have lived up to my ideal.

Between moving to Idaho, reading this article, and facing a life-changing loss, something clicked for me. I realized Blake was more of a perfect-fit friend than I could have ever dreamed of and that I needed to be more accepting of the other friendships I did have on whatever level they were at.

I decided to stop focusing on looking for that perfect friend and to just be a good friend to whoever might cross my path. 

I recognized that although I am not what a stereotypical BFF looks like - I did have my perks.

I accepted that I am not the friend you invite to "girls night out" but I am the friend who will watch your kids whenever you have a doctor appointment, a church responsibility, or need half a second to get in the shower. I accepted that I am not the friend that will walk the aisles of Target with you but I am the friend who will take requests on what you want me to find for you at the thrift store (and I usually can deliver). I accepted that I am not the friend that can discuss the finer points of Downton Abbey (never seen it) but I am the friend who will listen with all my heart when life gets rough. 

Since making these changes, I noticed I view my friendships in a much more positive light. I am not focusing on those flaws that made a friend a non-perfect-fit and became more accepting of my friends for who they are. I stopped looking for the needs of mine that they did not meet and tried to more fully appreciate the ways that they did bless my life.

One of these non-perfect-fit friends is my neighbor down the street Kelsey. Kelsey and I have known each other for over 3 and a half years. Our kids often "live" at each other's houses. Rarely a day goes by that we don't talk. Her children randomly pop up in pictures on here because they are often involved in whatever craziness we have going on. 

Our friendship is something I cherish - it is something that makes my days easier and more enjoyable. However, our friendship is not a totally natural fit. For instance, the first two years we knew each other seemed like a series of mis-communications. She would want to go out for a girl's night - I would want to stay home with Blake. I would ask if her kids could play - she worried that she needed to return the favor. She's a talker - I am keep it all inner (especially in the beginning of our friendship when I was deeply mourning Talmage).

But I am so grateful that we stuck with each other even though I am sure there are days when she would love to trade me in for a girl who can appreciate the series finale of The Bachelor or discuss exactly how to do a juice cleanse. I know I don't meet all her needs and I am just grateful that she also sticks it out even though I am not her ideal girl friend.

I am grateful that I met Kelsey at a time in my life when I wasn't so hung up on finding "that one friend" because I probably never would have given her the chance to become my perfect non-perfect-fit friend. 

And I write this as a challenge to all those out there who are desperately searching for that best friend like that one you had back in high school. Friendships look a lot different than they did then but that doesn't mean that they should be valued any less. I recommend you stop looking for that perfect-fit friend and just be the best friend that you can be to those who do come your way.

You might be surprised about what you find.

Love you Kels

1 comment:

Jo said...

Well said. Well thought. Good for you for recognizing the value in relationships.