Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit. ~Aristotle
Over the last couple of weeks, I have spent a few days with my lifelong best friend. First, he came to visit me and we spent a couple of days engaging in the manly pursuit of big game hunting (deer). Then, over the holidays, my family and I visited Eric and his wife, Barbara, at their home for a day, where we engaged in the manly pursuit (even though Barbara knows more about college football than most men) of watching college football.
It takes a long time to grow an old friend. ~John Leonard
Eric and I grew up into manhood together. We became good friends just out of high school and were best, hang-out-every-day friends for the next 10 years. Since then, we have lived in different states for the last 15 years, trying to visit each other a couple of times a year. Despite the geographical and chronological distances in our friendship, I know that with a single phone call and no questions, Eric would be at my doorstep to lend a helping hand. And he knows the same of me.
Friends are relatives you make for yourself. ~Eustache Deschamps
I suspect that at first we liked each other because of shared common interests or possibly shared traits that we like in ourselves. But, I wonder if friendships deepen when people begin to see traits in the other person that they wish they had themselves. In Eric's case, I've always admired his spontaneity and adaptability to change. Since I've known him, Eric has had multiple careers including machinist, sailor, high school teacher, salesman, real estate investor, hair stylist, camp counselor, and a few others I can't recall offhand.
Friendship... is not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything. ~Muhammad Ali
In the long run though, I think true friendships are created when a casual friendship accrues a critical mass of shared experiences. Put another way, the shared experiences reinforce the friendship until they become a buttress making the friendship truly strong. To carry that analogy further, not only do the shared experiences buttress the friendship, but the friendship buttresses us against the stresses of life. Which leads me to one last friendship quote for a regular reader -- and you know who you are...
A good friend is cheaper than therapy. ~Author Unknown