“Stay close to people who feel like sunlight” – Xan Oku
This quote offers a sense of fullness and clarity; it may even make you smile as someone you love pops into your mind. The person who appeared in our mind is not a flesh-and- blood relative, but we consider her a sister. She is sunshine in human form, even when she’s giving ‘tough love’. In fact, that makes her even more of a treasure because she’s authentic and really desires the best for the people she holds dear.
The Purpose & Types of Friends
Some think that the purpose of friendships are to help relax us, bring joy into our lives, and provide cushion from our quotidian troubles. Friends are celebrants on life’s highway, and its shock absorbers – especially during times of major trauma or loss.
They say that there are three types of friends: those who come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. As we all proceed through adolescence, our young adult years, and beyond, there will be times we have to evaluate our lives, needs, and how our friendships fit. There will be acquaintance-friends you have a class in common with and, after the semester ends, so does the connection. Like winter squashes or snow boots, some friendships will last a season – perhaps you were in a graduate school program together, you were both fledgling entrepreneurs or new moms, but because of distance, misunderstandings, or a length of time without communication (and now it feels awkward to), the friendship has faded.
The third type of friend is rare and very special – it is like when you’ve found your ‘ride or die’ marriage partner. You and this person were drawn together by your similarities and/or your differences (which only makes life more exciting for you both) and you continue to grow, as individuals and as friends, together. Like any marriage or long-term relationship, this doesn’t mean everything is rainbows and unicorns. You’ve likely had arguments, times when you felt misunderstood or like throwing in the towel, but you didn’t. You both put effort and goodwill into restoring and rebuilding the relationship…and in many ways, you feel stronger because of the testing of your foundation. These people feel like family to you, perhaps as much or even more than your biological family. There is a sense of unconditional love and acceptance.
There’s also a fourth type of friend: the so-called ‘frenemy’. This person may be judgmental and lob thinly-veiled insults into every conversation, but they aren’t all bad, so we keep them around…at a high cost to our health, it turns out.