|BWS Stories - "That's What Friends Are For"...Girlfriends|
"That's What Friends Are For"...Girlfriends - Friends 4 Life?
Rita Milios is a psychotherapist, author and speaker from Toledo, OH. Her books include Tools for Transformation, Dream Journal and Intuition Log Book. Read other articles of interest on her website, www.ritamilios.com.
Friends 4 Life?
The school day was getting off to its usual hectic start when the phone rang.
I recognized the breathless voice right away. It was my friend and neighbor from two doors down. “Rita, this is Liz. Janet missed the bus and I’m late for work. Can you take her to school? Thanks! l'll have her run right over.”
“Sure...” I started. But the phone was dead.
I couldn’t help but smile, imagining Liz racing out the door, coatails flying. She was always in a panic. Liz’s scattered, chaotic persona sometimes belied her brilliant mind and unique creative capacity. As a fellow artist, Liz was just the kind of friend I needed to keep my own juices flowing at a time in my life when parenting duties often caused my writing projects to be shifted to the back burner.
Dear Liz. She hadn’t even waited for an answer. She just took it for granted that I would do her the favor. Yet, this assumption hadn’t left me feeling taken for granted. To the contrary, I felt somehow... privileged. I was reminded that assumptions like this were proof of the depth of our friendship.
Friendship is a funny thing. The need for it is as basic as the need for food and water, yet having true friendship is rare. In one dry spell, I found myself without a single person that I could call a real friend. There were a number of people I fondly referred to as “eternal acquaintances”. These were people I’d known for years, without ever having had a conversation deeper than, “So, what have you been doing lately?” I longed to move past this cordial small talk, yet the time never seemed right to ask, “What’s really going on? Do you want to talk about it?”
Then, several years ago, before the friendship between my neighbor and myself had developed, Liz gave me one of the nicest compliments I think I’ve ever received. We had begun sharing rides to exercise classes. The twenty-minute drive gave us our first opportunity to really talk. I soon sensed that I wanted our friendship to be taken a step further. But was that even possible?, I wondered. We were both so busy, with children, car pools, gym classes. And Liz had a full time job as well. To ask her to give me a portion of the precious little time she had left seemed somehow presumptuous.
Yet, one afternoon, while carpooling, Liz turned to me and said, “I’d like to spend more time with you. Can we make it a point to keep getting together after exercise class ends?”
“Ok...sure.” I stammered, somewhat taken aback at her directness. Then I suddenly realized that, for all my excuses, the real reason I had not made this suggestion myself was for fear of rejection. Liz, however, had forged ahead, taking the risk for both of us. She probably never even stopped to consider that I might decline her offer. That’s when I knew that having the friendship of this woman would be exciting, fun, rewarding... indeed a privilege.
And once that subtle line between acquaintance and friendship had been crossed, the feeling was thrilling. It was like a breath of fresh air, a shiver of anticipation and a prayer of thanks all rolled up into one. It was a feeling of having arrived. Knowing that joy, sorrow, frustration and exhilaration all need to be shared, but not with just anyone – these are the times when only a friend will do – I was elated at having my secret desire for Liz’s friendship reciprocated. This, I correctly predicted, would be a friendship that could withstand a little chaos.