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They come into our lives when we least expect them and yet, at the right time. Friends are those people who we meet and make an important part of our lives. Some friendships last a lifetime, and some don’t. Prior to my first day of school, my parents would often prepare me for that life-changing event by telling me that I would meet other children and make friends. The word friend stuck in my mind until my first day of school began. As a child, I would wonder what or who are friends. Is this a group of people that would help me adapt to being away from my mother? Is this the name people would soon use to refer to me, instead of student? To say that I was curious to learn about friends is an understatement. I was, more, or less, eager to see if I would make friends!
As I entered the school system for the first time, I began to meet other children my age that appeared to be just as curious as I was about what school would be like and which classmate would soon become his or her friend. By nature, I have always been a quiet, some have considered me shy, girl because I didn’t know how to approach people that I wasn’t familiar with. I wanted to make friends to help my transition from home to school more comfortable, less fearful. But, for quiet or shy people, it’s pretty difficult to make friends. Still, there were a few classmates who eventually approached me and begin talking to me, although I can’t remember what our initial conversation was about. I can say it felt good to have someone to talk to at school. After a while, I even began to look forward to going to school to talk to my friends. Unfortunately, I learned that as children it’s not uncommon for the people we call our friends, to befriend other children and lose interest in current friendships.
From most of my childhood friendships that I experienced, there are fond memories of those who were special to me. Sadly, as a seventh grader, I experienced the loss of a dear friend, through death, that I can say with confidence, would have been a lifelong friend. We talked on the phone, daily, mostly about the guys we had crushes on, pretending like they were actually our boyfriends. Each day following her untimely death, I was reminded that my close friend was gone, and I wouldn’t be getting any more phone calls from her. It happened a year after losing my older brother to a drowning accident. So it had a devastating effect on me, that I eventually learned to cope with. As a child, losing a close friend leaves a lasting affect on you. I admit that since the passing of my friend, decades ago, I have never met another friend that I felt such a connection with.
If I had to define the term friend, I would say it’s a special bond created by two or more people who share a common interest in something and who genuinely appreciates the company of the other person or persons. They laugh at each other’s jokes, no matter how corny they are. They cry with each other during sadness and disappointments. For good times and bad times, friends are there for each other, one way or another. True friends are those individuals who eventually become like surrogate family to each other because of the sincere trust and compassion that is expressed whenever friends get together. True friendships are those that last a lifetime and because of loyalty and respect, nothing or no other person can destroy the bond of friendship. Real friends are those who may not see each other as often as they would like to, but whenever they come together, it’s like time has stood still and they can pick up where they left off the last time they were together. There are no expiration dates with real friends because they cannot, or do not, see living their lives without each other in them, no matter what changes in life are faced by either one of them. Those types of friendships do not come along that often in life and should be cherished while they last.