A Friend Like You
I read somewhere that in order to have meaningful relationships, you have to let people in completely. You need to give them everything and expect nothing less. To me, this means being your genuine, authentic self complete with rough edges and eye rolls where you do everything you can to help your friend while expecting the same from them. I also imagine this meaning that you can share the odd, disconnected thoughts that go on in your head without receiving anything more than a strange look and sympathetic smile saying, “God you’re so weird”. Letting someone in completely means you never need to have your guard up, it means that you can share your unadulterated thoughts about their new boyfriend or what you ate for lunch that day. It means having someone to turn to when you aren’t having a great day or when you’ve had a great day and want someone to share this with.
To me, this also means complete honesty from these friends. That when you do something wrong, they call you out and when you achieve something special they are the first ones to knock on your door (with wine preferably). They will be the ones to look after your dog when you travel and to lend you clothes for this trip. They will always look forward to speaking to you and try to help even when they know they have zero expertise when it comes to the internal workings of your WiFi connection. They will be there when you drunkenly call your ex and wrestle the phone away from you and they will also be your plus one at baby showers that you attend, only for the free dessert.
To let someone in completely, in a meaningful way, means that they now have access to the deepest recesses of your twisted mind. They know that you don’t like babies and that you wish you were smarter and better looking. They listen to you when you cry about work and other friends and relationships and always have your back when others whisper about your bad mood or surly demeanour. They will have dinner with you when you want good sushi and they will stay home with you and laugh at childish rom coms. They will understand when you don’t want to talk and somehow make time for when you do.
There will be times when you don’t get along. When you tell them you think they’ve made the wrong decision or that they made you feel neglected. They will make other friends, and you may feel like you are being replaced. Not right away, but definitely by their third date. You will get into arguments, you will feel like a quarrelling couple but without a little fire, there is no meaning. You will shed tears, promise to always be open with each other, to never keep your feelings hidden. That this new friend is great but you’re definitely greater.
I have a lot of really great friends but I don’t think I have anyone in my life with who I can be completely myself. Each of us have our demons, and for some of us, they are perhaps too fiery for anyone to ever manage. As children we let people in all the time, though over time, bridges were burnt and hearts were broken which is why we now approach new friendships and relationships with a suspicious gaze and untrusting eye. It’s tough to develop deep connections as an adult but perhaps we also struggle with giving people enough of a chance. I’m sure each of us reading this would love to have a friend like this (and if you do, I am so happy and super envious of you) and could be a friend like this, so what are we waiting for?