Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Question of the Week: Question #17

We've talked about friendship before, friends, but today, I'd love to get a little more personal on the subject. Several of you have asked about my social life, so I hope you enjoy this newspaper column on my nearest and dearest friends. And as always, got a question? I'd love to hear from you, so feel free to email me (mellow1422 [at] aol)!
I’ve never in my life been a social butterfly. I tend to fly in the peripheral unlike one of my oldest friends, Amanda. She can walk into a room and instantly draw the spotlight to herself. She’s friendly without being overbearing, funny without being over-the-top and yet still sensitive without being patronizing. She’s my authentic, genuine friend. What you see is what you get with Amanda. Every time.

Leave it to our friends never to disappear, to always be there, even if there is a park bench or a penthouse at the Four Seasons – or maybe even if there is a conversation over instant message or email.

With a little help from our friends, we can achieve big things. But are some friends just naturally equipped to brave the world with you in different situations?

Lucky for me, I have a Rolodex of buddies. It didn’t take me long to mentally fortify my legion for life’s battles, big and small.
The Forever (“I knew you when….”) Friend
Brandy’s been my partner in crime for 21 years. We grew up best friends, but felt like sisters. She saw me through the little things like the time she sat at my bedside and played hours of Monopoly with me after a surgery, feeling unglamorous and nervous about starting high school in two weeks. She also saw me through the big things like the month after my father died when she stayed at my house, a time when the only thing that made me smile was seeing her sprint around in the mornings wearing her olive-green alligator slippers. She indulges me in my quirks (I’ve worn the same mint-green sweater for 10 years) and I overlook her eccentricities (she refuses to leave voicemail messages). But it all works for us.

The “Where we left off” Friend
Something tells me it was fate that brought Sam into my life. She was a cute 4-year-old when she knocked on our apartment door and asked my mom if she could help take care of me. I was still a baby at the time, and my mother had just broken her leg. Little did we know Sam would become like family to us. Our lives have taken a heap-load of twists and turns, but when we get together, all the puzzle pieces just naturally fall into place again. We still have that connection. It feels as if we’d never left each other, but instead just picked up right where we left off. And now, she has two beautiful daughter of her own.

The Uplifting Friend
My friend Jalyn is, hands down, the most genuine, caring person I know. She’s the one who never misses a birthday (especially her own). She’s the one who, five years after my father’s death, isn’t afraid to say she misses him. She’s the one who never shies away from a hug. In a world of pent-up, isolated people, Jalyn is the ray of sunshine in my sometimes-cloudy life. She's always ready with a smile and a deck of Elvis playing cards for a mean game of War. But instead of the game ending in competitive bitterness, it never fails to end in laughter and plenty of smiles.

The Talk-Late-Into-The-Night/Over-Breakfast Friend
Another one of my oldest friends, Claire, has a knack for making me spill my guts when the sun goes down. I can tell her things I could never admit to anyone else, and she instinctively gets it. It doesn’t hurt that we have the same wacky, Seinfeldish sense of humor or the fact that our families eerily mirror each other. We can talk for hours, about everything from our secret dreams of becoming a detective duo to analyzing (and overanalyzing) our interactions with crazy boys. I really should thank Claire for the free therapy! Or she should at least start charging me an hourly fee!
Your friends are always out there, waiting for that phone call or email or text. Who’s on your Dream Team? I’d love to hear about them!

[Photos via Audrey Hepburn Complex]

12 comments:

Pauline said...

I wrote a post about my dream team as well. It's a beautiful thing to honor the people who love you and whom you love! Thank you for sharing!

Jenny in Ohio said...

aw, how wonderful. I bet they are going to be so flattered to read your kind words too :) Thanks for sharing about your bffs!

Danie at Pasadya said...

What a sweet post. I love that my friends are SO different from one another. I'm separated by most of my dearest friends by distance, but it feels like we were never apart when we have the chance to meet up!

Anonymous said...

Neat that you have these cool friends. Disabled people make me uncomfortable but so do people with bad hygiene so don't judge me too much.

iaca ramos said...

this post makes me think about my best friend. it was amazing how college brought us together. Now, i dont know whats happening our worlds are kinda drifting apart despite of being housemates. I dont know what happened or what is happening. i just miss talking to her without that awkward silence that we usually have now. :(

got any advice for me, mel? :( Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Delighted to know that you do indeed have some friends! In reading over your past posts, it was interesting to me to see that you never mention them or never mention doing anything with them socially. I hope you pick up the phone occasionally and plan some fun stuff to do with them....maybe a trip, a cruise, a play, a concert, trying new restaurants, a spa day, wine tasting, shopping, browsing the farmer's market, visiting the arboretum in the spring, poker night, gourmet cooking night, comedy club, taking a class together, forming a book club....so many possibilities!!! Would love to see pictures, also!!!

Melissa Blake said...

Iaca, have you tried talking to her about this? Maybe she's feeling the same way but is afraid to say anything.

Melissa Blake said...

Thanks for the kind words! xoxo

iaca ramos said...

we've talked.. but i guess she's just letting things drift apart,. i cant blame her. she's way different now. maybe i am too.. :( thanks mel.

Mo said...

Melissa, I love this! I'm sitting here putting in my own circle of girls into these categories. This would be like a perfect mini bio for weddings and special occasions. I'm sure your friends are so happy to read this and know they are appreciated.

It's lovely to have great, authentic people in one's life.

Melissa Blake said...

Mo, mini bios are a great idea!! How fun would that be?

Bonnie said...

I wish sometimes that I could use words like you do. The beautiful in the people you have honored in this post is clear. Although I am not a good writer, I can make music. Happy music, introspective music, angry music, sad music, mopey music ... music. Some of my dearest friends remind me of certain songs, and when I'm with them, the music rings in my head loud and clear.

You are a treasure, Melissa.

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