Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Wonders of Old Friends (and What They Can Do for Your Love Life)

"Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods."
- Aristotle
A few months ago, I met an unhappily married woman with four children, who said, "Friends? I don't have time for friends."

And I thought to myself, "Honey, if anybody needs a friend, it's you."

The husband is one of those characters who doesn't always come home. He thinks it's his prerogative to do what he wants when he wants because he's king of the castle, man of the house, head of the household, and a lot of other nonsense that has no place in a happy marriage.

But anyway...

She doesn't have time for friends. I wonder if she was one of those girls who was raised to bag a man at all costs, and to shuck the female friends once she succeeded in her life's mission.

Fortunately, I wasn't raised that way. Last weekend, Peter and I drove to a neighboring state to hang out with the friend I met over a tomato sandwich in Third Grade (I'd forgotten my lunch, so Sr. Maurice assigned her to keep me company while she made me a sandwich in the convent kitchen). Two of our other friends showed up, as well, one from grammar school and the other from high school.

It gives me peace and joy to know that these people who know and love me to my core -- who've seen me through the goofy times, the sad times, and the embarrassing times--are still with me.

I'm not letting go.

You may not know this, but I met Peter through another old friend I decided to call out of the blue (I'd been visualizing that perfect man, and the Law of Attraction kicked in). Yeah, I did meet him in a bar, but I was out that night with this old friend of mine. And the old friend knew him and provided valuable insight into his character. If you've been with me for a while, you know I'd given up dating until I attracted someone worth dating.

Now, here's an important point: I didn't call the friend to keep me company while I found a man. I don't believe in making people a means to an end. I missed her and wanted to hang out with her, and the fact that I found the right guy in the process was a beautiful side effect.

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from a friend from college. She graduated ahead of me, and I haven't seen her since. We've been writing back and forth and made plans to get together this summer.

Our renewed acquaintance will definitely lead to new experiences. It will open a universe of new possibilities. I'm eager to see what they'll be.

No doubt you've had friends who are no longer your friends for a reason (I'm talking about the ones who only called you to whine, who told embarrassing stories from your past to strangers, and who sucked the air out of every room they entered). I don't recommend you catch up with them.

But most of us has a good friend from the past we've lost touch with. Why not get in touch? It's very possible you'll open yourself up to new opportunities and, better yet, new friends who may introduce you to -- or may even be -- the person you spend the rest of your life with.

(Photo credit: Richard H. Stone, photographer of the Dog Captions greeting card line, which benefits animal programs. Check it out at http://www.dogcaptions.com.)