I’ve been getting emails lately, letting me know that someone or other has confirmed that we were indeed connected or friends through LinkedIn or Facebook (I have not tried the twitter, reunion or really delved into the myspace – by putting a ‘the’ in front of these does that make me sound really old?). Each time I get an email, I can’t lie, I smile. Huge really. Sometimes from a memory that I have shared with the person, sometimes we have no memories, only an online relationship, but the smile still beams in.
Which has led me to ponder what it means to be ‘friends’ with someone.
While Sweetie was out of town last week, I got an email from someone who I hold utter-ly (that’s for you M) dear to me. She invited me to call her, on the phone, if I needed to talk. I was immediately stunned by her invitation, and upon further reflection wondered why? Why would I be so taken aback by a friend telling me it was ok to call her? Well, I’ve never met my friend in ‘real’ life. Only through emails and posts and blogging and her awesome swaps. I have never spoken with her, heard her voice, seen her smile, been hugged or touched or winked at by her (other than on facebook). Does it lessen my love for her – no. But it has made me think again and again about this new world of relationships we build.
I got friended by someone I have never met before on Facebook the other day. He’s friends with ‘friends’/acquaintances that I have. I checked out his page, read some posts from his blog, didn’t comment, and thought YES! I would love to be friends with this guy. He is smart, doing really cool stuff with his life, and the connections we have are through people I admire. Is he a friend, no. Not even an acquaintance. But maybe we will be? Maybe!
Another note the other day from a former co-worker. Lately, this group (former co-workers) has been the most difficult for me to wade in my emotions with. So my friend gave me some wise words that I think are really helping this ol’ born under the sign of cancer hanger-on-er that I can be. She said to me "Remember, many of us are friends by circumstance. It doesn’t mean we
are any less friends – just a different sort who can pick up where we
left off with joy when our paths cross."
So some friends are just friends for a while, because we share an office, or workspace, or we ride in the elevator at the same time every day. When I first read these words, my insides screamed. I wanted to yell "NO! You are my Friend, with a capitol F, not a lowercase, sometimes when the situation is right, cause I happen to be in close proximity to you." But, I knew and know, that she is right. Some friends, relationships, are just that. Situational, fleeting, have beginnings and endings. *ugh*
Another former co-worker. I asked him to be connected to me through LinkedIn. He accepted and sent me an email. We don’t connect very often, but when we do, the response is so similar each time. "I was JUST thinking about you, mentioning you to so and so." He told me this time that he is attending a wonderful church where he lives, and was at church one Sunday, and thought of me. Here is the sermon that made him think of me. It is 25 minutes long, just to warn you. But it is the best 25 minutes I have spent in a long time. Please, listen. (if the link doesn’t work go here, and click on the sermon from April 13th, called "I Call You Friends.")
When you do, my friends (and I use this term wide and broad: for my not yet friends, for my oh so distant friends, for my up close and personal friends, and for the friends from San Fran to London, from Vancouver to Texas. For the ones who know me so well, and for the ones whom I lurk and comment with), this ones for you.