When I was in Kindergarten, I had a best friend named Caitlin. She was from England and I loved her. Mostly because I went to a French school and she was the only person I was able to have a conversation with in English. In 1998, she came over during the ice storm because our house was one of the few that had power. We played a Backstreet Boys VHS tape in my living room and danced to all the songs. Once I peed myself because I didn’t know how to ask “est ce que je peux utiliser la toilette s’il vous plait?” and everyone laughed a little, Caitlin included. But she partnered up with me in Phys Ed that same day and we both forgot all about it. I don’t remember how long I knew Caitlin for. I don’t remember if we had a 7yr old’s version of a “falling out”. I don’t even remember her last name. I just remember that there was a time when we were bestest friends forever and ever – amen.
Every summer, I watch F*R*I*E*N*D*S in my room before bed. I LOVE that show. Didn’t anyone that had a soul love it? Didn’t everyone want to be a part of the F*R*I*E*N*D*S crew? Didn’t everybody say to their closest friend “you’re so Monica!” or “we’re so Chandler and Joey!”? I did. And I do. The best thing about that show wasn’t necessarily the personalities of the characters; it was that they stuck together for 10 long years. In 10 years, conflicts never lasted more than 4 episode arcs. Arguments arose and everyone dealt with them openly and honestly and moved on. There were times when each character almost left the group but something stopped them. This went on for 10. Years. These dynamics. These ups and downs. These highs and lows of life; and for 10years, they stuck it through. I love F*R*I*E*N*D*S because I know that there is literally nothing that could happen that could end any of those relationships and that’s rare.
Commitment. Pushing through. Letting go. Moving on. These things are so hard to come by; and isn’t that what everyone wants? Doesn’t everyone want to know that the person they’re closest to now will be around forever? I think the fear we all have in friendships or relationships is that there is something we could do or say that could end it all. In real life, conflict can last more than 4 episodes. People don’t move on as fast or at all. Sometimes, it isn’t dealt with and most times, you have to just call it a day. Other times things just change. You change. They change. Things aren’t what they used to be and there’s not even a real explanation as to why. There is so rarely an assurance that you will in fact be “friends forever”. That’s why when we meet people that have known each their whole lives we’re so impressed; impressed that their relationship stood the test of time. But then again, who knows the quality of that friendship. I have people in my life I’ve “known” since elementary that I know nothing about. I’ve had people in my life that I had known for a year that knew me better than anyone. I don’t know which friends I have that will stand the test of time, I just know the friends I have that are standing the test of time right now – whenever now is. There are people in my life at this moment that I hope I’ll only get closer to. I don’t ever want to stay stagnant or even worse, go backwards. I never want to begin to withhold things or cut ties with the people I’m closest to now.
But here’s the thing: life is not like F*R*I*E*N*D*S – and that’s probably okay. You meet people and get close to a few during any given season of life. If you’re lucky, you can get a good 2 years out of it. Anything more and you had better thank God every day that relationship continues. So be thankful and hope for the best because your relationship can end in a few days or a few minutes. But at least right now, there is nothing you wouldn’t do for them and nothing they wouldn’t do for you. Right now, you’re Chandler and he’s Joey. Today’s conflict is today’s conflict. If in 4 episodes you’re still close, you’re blessed. If in 10 years you’re closer still, even better. But if tomorrow you’re Caitlin and your last name can’t even be remembered; that might be okay too. After all, at least at one time, you had a partner in phys ed and someone to dance to the BackStreet Boys with during a storm.