We all want and need them. One’s openness to friends goes through a kind of complete exclusivity cycle. When we are little we’re open to a wide range of friends with few to chose from – but by the teen years we’ve become more selective and our definition of friend is very small. We long to be part of the ‘in crowd’ but more importantly we long to not be left out. In adulthood we’re almost back to our childhood ways because we’re more inclusive, and with a wide range to choose from, our lives become rich through a diversity of friendships.
The best friends of our youth may not be the ones we call best friends as adults. To evolve together as best buddies is a rare achievement. As parents, our friends tend to be parents of our children’s friends often met on the soccer sidelines with obvious common interests. That is, if you even have time to have friends. Parenthood is an all-encompassing activity.
An interesting thing happens when you hit a certain age. Your friends become the people you share something with and these friends come from all aspects of your life. Friends no longer reflect how you’d like to seen but rather provide definition to who you are. As I get older I find I have a new found appreciation for friends, both old and new, and I find myself reaching out to have them in my life.
I feel fortunate to have friends from many different areas. I have friends from high school and University, friends I have met through my children and friends from work. However, with the advent of the internet, something very unexpected has happened. I now have a big group of friends I have never met and may never meet. We provide advice and support to one another, we have a lot in common and a lot to talk about. We are ‘getting in the conversation’ as we pursue our dreams of creative living. These are my blogging friends. We met through an on-line blogging course and connected through our blogs. Through this course I have become part of extraordinary community. Let me introduce you to a few of my new friends: Leah, Laetitia, Silke, Santa, Natalie, Marit, Coco, Teri, Deepa, Heidi, Mary, and another Tina. Have a look at their blogs and get to know them too.
Many people would question whether these are true friends. How do you define true friends? Perhaps because they are virtual, and you can represent yourself in any way you wish, they are conceived of as artificial or inauthentic. I would argue that precisely the opposite is true. I don’t like these people because they look good or have cool clothes or cars. I like them in the simplest possible way – because of what they have to share and what they have to say. These are my idea friends.
So, blogging does lead to friends. Meet Jo Ann from Chicago, who I met through my blog when she left me a post about her Hermes Scarves. Jo Ann found out, from my blog, that I am a scarf collector and asked me if I would be interested in purchasing her vintage Hermes scarves. I was intrigued which led to some back and forth discussions about Jo Ann’s scarves. In the end, I was not able to buy these lovely scarves but I offered to post them on my blog to let my readers know about this opportunity to own some well cared for vintage Hermes scarves.
Over the course of the last month JoAnn and I have corresponded the old fashion way, via snail mail. JoAnn sent me an article she thought I would enjoy about Hermes’ attempts to recycle leather into large $100K pandas, and photos of her scarves. Jo Ann’s scarves above in her words “are in fresh new pristine condition, but my photo skills are lacking!” So, leave me a comment if you are interested in my new friend Jo Ann’s scarves and I will let her know.
Oddly enough my experience of my blogging friends has some of the mutually supportive pioneer spirit my parents used to talk about. For me this has sparked the realization that it is one’s attitude and openness to friendship, regardless of how it is conveyed, that defines our ability to connect and stay connected with others.