Friend is definitely a word with many definitions. When we were young, it meant someone who would share toys or cookies, someone who would want you to play at their house and have sleepovers. Then, you got a little older and your friends were the ones you tried to schedule classes with, took rides to the mall with and started talking about all the things that seemed so important at the time. Up to that point many friendships fade for people like me. The real and true friends were the ones who I met when I seemed to be truly discovering myself.
College was my first opportunity to really venture out on my own, make my own decisions with my own consequences and honestly find out how well I learned from any mistakes I made. It was also a major learning experience in who the people where that I would consider friends. Lots of things happen when you first go away to college. I was no different in that sense.
I started my college days at a University of Wisconsin school. I found after one semester that it was too close to home and I needed to transfer. I worked with a guy at a local supper club who attended a different UW school that was about 3 hours from home – just far enough to be away, but not so far that I couldn’t easily get home if I wanted to. He took me on a campus tour (he was a resident assistant) and I liked the campus, not to mention it was good to know someone there already. (Plus, not going to lie, the ratio of guys to girls at the time was 3 to 1.)
I decided to move down to that school and started meeting people almost immediately. Some of the people I met in my first few weeks are people who I still make a point to visit now almost 15 years later. (Yeah, not giving away my age on that one at all!) These were people who were members of fraternities, who were studying the same major as me or were simply friends of the guy who had convinced me to go to that school in the first place.
I guess I should clarify here. This guy was only a co-worker and one I would have considered a friend at the time. We still talk on a rare occasion, but in all honesty, when you really learn who people are, your views of them tend to change. I did not go to that school because I was one of those girls who was young, stupid and only went there to follow a boy. That, I believe, is one of the dumbest reasons to choose a school that will set you up with your knowledge base to live the rest of your life. But, I digress…
So, after a short while at college, I met one of my best friends. You know, the type that would help you hide the bodies? Just kidding. He and I had dealt with many of things over the years and we had the same viewpoints on most which made it easy to understand each other. It is absolutely amazing when you have one of those friends that you can say anything to and they get it. You don’t have to explain, they don’t judge and they also have your back, even if it means telling you something you do NOT want to hear but that you NEED to hear. That is a true friend. I will agree that in most aspects, a true friend will also keep your secrets, but this is where I’ve found some people tend to get a bit confused.
I became friends a few years back with one of my regular bartenders. (This is nothing new to me having been a bartender for nearly 15 years.) He and I got to talking one night as he was telling me about wanting to divorce his wife. I was also going through some issues in my marriage and was curious to know when he realized it was time to throw in the towel. Well, skip forward a bit and he and his wife decided to reconcile. He then introduced me to her and she and I started to hang out fairly regularly. She started telling me about her infidelities. I wasn’t going to judge. People do what they are going to do. I was keeping her secrets, but I was also wasn’t lying to her husband either, though I also knew of his infidelities too. So, we all got along for maybe a little over a year. Then, this woman, who I thought was my friend, threw me under the proverbial bus. She called me one night and told me one of her married co-workers had his wife leaving town for the weekend in two weeks and she needed me to pick her up from her house (where she lived with her husband) and drive her to her co-worker’s house. She then stated that she would call me when she needed a ride back home. Now, if you’re reading this and don’t see a problem with it, pay attention, because I’m going to explain it for you.
There seems to be a VERY thin line for some people between the definitions of friend and accomplice. Now, some people would think a person keeps the secrets of their friends and vice versa just because they are friends, but if you believe that is cause enough to make someone keep your secrets you are sadly mistaken. I’ve made choices in my life that may not have been the best ones, but, me, unlike this “friend”, know that you deal with consequences in life and you don’t hold things over anyone, especially those you consider true friends. Probably needless to say, this woman dug herself a hole and continues to do so from things I hear. When you give people a reason, they will talk about you, and well, lots of people have been talking about her for quite some time.
I also partially blame her selfishness for having lost someone that I considered a friend, and more than a friend if I’m to be completely honest with you. When people don’t understand things, it’s in their best interest to just stay out of it. For no reason should a proclamation of ones feelings for someone with no intention to do anything about them be reason to have someone stab you in the heart (metaphorically speaking of course). I’m not going to blame this woman fully, as she was not the sole person to cause such disrupt in my life for a time, but her childish, selfish justifications for the things she was doing were a proponent of what came to be in the end. (Just gonna throw this out there…I’m truly sorry for all the bullshit you dealt with Casey. It never should have been that way.)
I feel that true friends are the ones who are maybe not always there, but they get you, they understand your life, your crazy ways, your ADOS, and when it counts, they know you. And that makes a big difference. I know a LOT of people, but there are only some who bear that badge of friend. I ask you, reader, to be conscience of who it is that you hold dear to you and consider just why they are that way. Don’t become one of the unbeknownst accomplices. Life is too short to be forced to keep someone else’s dirty secrets.