I’m not exactly a spring chicken, therefore, I have had a good number of friends come and go throughout my life. A handful—very few indeed—never fade away or sabotage the friendship in any way. However, at the risk of sounding cynical, I can count on one hand (three fingers to be exact), the number of friends that have hung in there through thick and thin. To be clear, I’m not referring to casual acquaintances, work associates, neighbors, or people I run into at the grocery store or church. I’m talking about people with whom I have an intimate relationship; the type of people I can count on, share my innermost thoughts with, and not ever worry about them judging me. People who accept me for who I am, and don’t try to mold me into their way of thinking.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no bargain. Quite to the contrary. In fact, I can be a real pain in the ass. I’m brutally sarcastic. I’m extremely opinionated, and often impatient. I expect my friends to take the initiative with phone calls and e-mails. I am often quick to criticize and slow to forgive. And if you really piss me off, I can hold a grudge for decades. Aside from these unsavory characteristics, if you can put up with my idiosyncrasies, I’m as loyal as a Golden Retriever. Call me at three a.m. with a flat tire, and I’m there. Ask me to float you a couple hundred till payday, and I’ll hand it over, no questions asked. I’ll even cut your lawn if you pull a muscle.
I have lost two dear friends recently for reasons I cannot comprehend. One of them has completely written me off because I write novels about diabolical serial killers. She’s never confronted me; she simply vanished from my life. I guess she cannot separate my creative mind from the real me. To her, they are one in the same. She doesn’t care about how much I give to charities, or that I sponsor three orphans in Tijuana. All she’s focused on is my serial killer novels, and for some reason, she believes they define who I am.
The other friend dissolved our relationship because we have different viewpoints on a number of controversial issues, and during the course of debate, I stepped over a few sensitive lines and seriously offended her. She hasn’t officially announced that our friendship is terminated, but when she removed me from her blog mailing list and deleted a link to my web site through her blog roll, well, I think that’s a pretty clear message.
So I guess the point I’m trying to make is that friendships—no matter how solid they appear—are fragile. And no matter how secure you feel, you might be only one comment away from losing a friend you believed would stand by you forever.