Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit. – Aristotle
Hey! How’ve you been? I got busy last week and we didn’t get to talk, but here we are now over coffee so let’s get to it.
I’ll admit right out of the gate that this might be a little weird because I should be asking about you and certainly not spending all my time talking about another friend. Kind of rude, I know. But I just have to. Not that there’s anything wrong with you…there’s not!
I promise, we’ll get back to you soon.
So, I have this friend who I met on Facebook. I know. Some people think the ones you meet on FB are nothing resembling “real” friends. I agree on some level. I’m not interested in taking all my FB friendships to the offline world, but that’s OK—and I think many of my FB friends would say the same. No offense, taken or intended. We’re all adults here.
But occasionally you’ll happen upon an avatar or picture or some words in a post that flip your familiarity switch. You know the one, right? The one that gives you that “seems like I’ve known you forever” feeling. That feeling of crawling into your bed after you’ve been away for a long time—diving into your worn sheets and rolling around on the mattress divots that cup all your body bumps.
Yeah, that kind of feeling.
I don’t know which FB post or blog comment of hers hooked me and backfilled the gaping friendship hole that’s deepened and widened over the past few years. You know, like underwear.
I can’t articulate what it was she said that made my friendship radar ping compared to everyone else I’ve met online since I cannonballed into the blogosphere earlier this year.
All I know is I wanted to be friends with her, like now. It didn’t matter that we’re nearly seventeen hundred miles apart, almost a day’s drive because really, what does distance even mean in 2014?
We Skyped/talked for the first time a week or so ago. Our friendship didn’t ripen slowly, like Aristotle said. We went from freshly picked to scrumptiously edible in no time, like a pair of pears in a paper bag.
And it was amazing!
We started our conversation with me blurting out that I was so nervous before our Skype call it felt more like a date than a chat. We talked for almost two hours with barely a breath in between sentences.
I didn’t feel the need to say much—everything I wanted to say came pouring out of her mouth. I was content to just sit back and nod my head. I would have given anything to squeeze my way through my screen and onto the couch next to her because it felt like the right place to be.
There’s something about the friendship that women establish when they’re older…maybe it’s the same for men, but I’m not one so I won’t go there. I don’t ever remember feeling this giddy when I made friends in grade school and high school. Those friendships were the “slow ripening fruit” Aristotle talks about.
But these later-in-life friendships bloom the way I assume marriages between people in their seventies do—with an acute sense of urgency because no one knows how much time they may have left. Gotta cram in all the good stuff you can.
I’m also a lot more discriminating in my choices of friends. My life, like everyone else’s, is wedged and packed with so much “doing” that I only have gnat-sized bits of time to fill with friendships. I’m not going to spend time cultivating something that’s just going to rot. Luckily, since I’m older, it’s easier to spot the bruised, off-gassing fruits.
OK, so enough about me…what about you? If you’re “later in life,” how has the way you’ve established or sought out friendships changed over time? Are your friendships like slow ripening fruit? What’s different between the ones that take time to develop and the ones that come to you already fully formed? And, do you still like me? I hope so!