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The Value of Friendship

I was on the phone yesterday with one of my dearest friends -- someone I've known for 15 years. We're good about telling one another what each means to the other. "What we have is beyond friendship," I said. "I know... it's like we're family," she said.

On reflection, I think of our friendship as more than family -- after all, one doesn't choose one's family, but we chose each other. But like family, we've stuck together through thick and thin, and I know we always will. She knows that she could call me in the middle of the night, from the middle of nowhere (which isn't out of the question, given her travels), needing help, and I'd find a way to get there. And I know the same is true in reverse.

This was brought into focus for me by a very different interaction I had later in the day... a friendship that turned out to be more ephemeral than I had thought it to be. It reminded me of how precious true friendship is and how lucky people are when they find it.


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It's funny that I've stumbled upon your blog randomly...because you are really talking about on your blog the things that I'd like to talk about. My blog is read by a lot of different people which causes me to censor a lot of my material. But as far as friendship goes...I find it absolutely amazing to see the amount of friendships that go by the wayside because of distance, marriages, children, etc. I have a good friend of mine who has recently come back into my life after about a 5 year absence and it pains me to know that our friendship can't quite be close because he is a married man and I'm a married woman...even though our relationship is strictly platonic....it seems like we're looked upon (even by our respective spouses) as bad people to want to see each other. Thoughts?

It can be hard work to keep up friendships in such a mobile, short-attention-span culture as we have in the US today. When people lived in the same town most of their lives, staying close by their best friends, it was easier, I think, to keep friendships going. Now we're moving all the time, and that makes it tougher. I'm 40 and have moved once for each year of my life. I'm an extreme case, to be sure, but most of us move far more often than did our parents or grandparents. Given that, I think ubiquitous e-mail is vital to keeping us in touch with one another. Yesterday, I dashed off nine personalized "Happy Thanksgiving" notes to friends in just a few minutes' time. Without e-mail, I just wouldn't have done that.

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