As T and I have gotten to know one another over the years, it has become clear that we approach friendship differently. His philosophy goes something like this: the longer you’ve been my friend, the dearer you are. My philosophy? The more, the merrier.
The three friends in the picture above are his closest high school friends, all of whom were part of our wedding. (The wedding photo guest book is seriously coming in handy for these posts!) T (on the left) was his best man, and D and A were groomsmen. His other groomsmen were a roommate from college, a roommate from graduate school, and his brother. I won’t leave you in anticipation over this sign: T and his friends would tell each other, “conseguirlo, tigre,” which means, “get it, tiger,” to pump one another up. So, since T was now married at this point, I think this sign reads, “Got it, tiger.”
When we were younger, we both thought our respective philosophy was the best. We’ve had the privilege to see one another through every transition of our adult lives: high school to college, college to work/grad school, my move to CA, his move to TX, marriage and my move to TX, child, and our move together to the Bahamas. I thought he was too slow to make new friends when he found himself in a new place. He wasn’t as interested in engaging in small talk or going to events where he wouldn’t know many people together.
Over time and particularly after marriage, though, I have learned more about the depth and quality of his relationships. It’s unfruitful to compare his friendships to mine (hello, men vs women, very different), but I now know that I want to be more like him. I truly admire his friendships and his commitment to them. While each new place tends to throw me off kilter due to my changing friendships, he is steady.
A few of the ways I’ve seen T maintain his relationships:
- Create traditions. T has invited friends to his parents’ house every year on Labor Day weekend since his very first year of college. (except this year, sad day, but we hope to resume next year!)
- Have ongoing conversations to stay connected. T receives or sends an email or five at least every other day from two of his CA friends and also a group of TX friends about sports-related topics. They are short and usually funny, and I’m always glad to get the chance to peak over his shoulder at the topic du jour. LeBron James and college football are usually the topic du jour.
- Prioritize face-to-face time. T organizes Google hangouts at least once a month with one or another of his friends. Opportunities to visit in person are scarce, so he makes the most of technology.
- Play group sports. T doesn’t like individual sports/working out nearly as much as group sports. When he can’t find a group to join in a new place, he creates a group. Once a department intramurals coordinator, always a department intramurals coordinator.
As a couple, our philosophy of friendship is changing and likely merging. I see him becoming more eager to engage with new people here in the Bahamas, and I see me becoming more content with time at home just with the family. Perhaps we can together claim “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, and the other gold” as our family’s view of friendship.
Honey, thanks for being my friend!