I would like to talk about a few friends of mine who I only consider just “a friend.” One of them is a fifty-five year old man that works in the same company as me. Sometimes we pass in the hallway and exchange a smile or we talk for a little if we both happen to be in the cafeteria at the same time. When I see him I keep it casual and we talk about simple things like the weather and baseball.
My youngest brother went away to college today as a freshman at James Madison University. When he left he gave me a long hug and we both exchanged a couple of tears. I cried the whole way to work and it’s at least an hour drive. Before I walked into the building I wiped my tears on my sleeve and entered the building. The first person that I saw was Tom! My fifty-five year old friend who talks to me about the weather and about baseball! He was just the person I needed to see because anyone who was more than just a friend to me would have asked me what was wrong and I just didn’t want to talk about it, not with anyone! But Tom smiled and said his usual, “How’s the weather?”
And I responded with a “just fine” with a smile on my face. And then we both went our separate ways. I know it sounds shallow but I really need more friends like Tom. I think everyone should have a friend like Tom. He’s a person that shares nothing with me yet we share so much. He’s twice my age, tall with gray hair while I am rather short with brown hair. But the one thing we do have in common is our special relationship of being just a friend.
Friends like these may come and go but they really are important in any healthy relationship. I have a number of friends at work who simply exchange a smile or a hello with me and it really brightens my day. And when I get home I have the love and support of my entire family and together we talk about our day and about our casual friends. I often tell my parents what Tom and I talk about and we laugh light heartedly at all the wonderful things a friend has to offer.
Sometimes a casual friend can turn into a big relationship but the thing is, it has to start off as a casual friend. You can’t jump right into a relationship and you can’t jump right out of one. The most solid foundation for a great friend is to first become just a friend. Based on the friends we have chosen to let into our weird little worlds we then choose who we want to stay and who we want to leave. Sometimes we make the wrong choice and befriend the one we shouldn’t trust and trust the ones we shouldn’t befriend. But that’s okay.
Life is about relationships and we can never have too many casual friends. This is the advice a dear friend of mine who recently passed away had given to me. She told me as simple as this, “you can never have too many friends.” And she was absolutely right.