As I’ve gotten older and moved around, I’ve come to truly understand the value of friendship. There are a lot of people I am lucky enough to call friends, but significantly fewer I feel connected to without ever having to explain why and regardless of distance or the passage of time. One of those friends came to visit me this weekend after traveling for work, which he does several times a year. Our first trip together was to visit a friend in St. Louis, Missouri a few summers ago and we’ve since met up in Hong Kong and Krabi following his other work trips. It was wonderful to show him around Singapore and introduce him to my people here. My American world and overseas world are very different places and I am so glad they collided this weekend.
Lucas and I have been friends since the beginning of our freshman year of high school. We were 14 when we met and remained in the same group of friends throughout our high school years. We ended up going to the same university, which was large enough that we never would have crossed paths had we not already known each other. He came to my college graduation (two years before his because of our programs) and Lucas’s college graduation is the only one I have ever attended besides my own. We have had twelve years of history together and countless experiences. Lucas has shaken me back down to Earth on more than one occasion, encouraged me to evaluate and reevalute my choices, and unequivocally supported the decisions I’ve made. I don’t want to speak for him, but I believe I’ve acted in kind. Suffice to say we’ve learned, grown, changed, and are always looking forward to the next adventure. Here’s to you, friend!
I don’t have the words to express my appreciation for the people in my life who I can count on to be honest with me in any and all circumstances. These are the people who I am the most open with, the people I have the best conversations with, and the people who I trust with anything and everything. Reciprocity, mutuality, and genuine caring are the essential ingredients in these relationships. It’s a balance between give-and-take, but I see the willingness to give as more important. I’ve learned that I can’t expect others to be open with me if I’m afraid to be vulnerable with them.
Vulnerability is the last thing I want you to see in me, but the first thing I look for in you.
Looking back on past friendships and relationships, the more truth I find in that statement. We have to allow ourselves to be seen, not just looked at. We have to be willing to be heard, not just listened to. Being vulnerable requires communication and dialogue on our part and not only on the part of the other. It’s hard. It can hurt. Often, it does.
But it is only once we’re ready for openness, honesty, and trust that we are able to see and hear others the way they deserve to be seen and heard.
After saying goodbye to Lucas and walking into work today, the lyrics of an old Barenaked Ladies song popped into my head for the first time in years. They’re true, too, for anyone I know and anyone I will know.
And if you call, I will answer
And if you fall, I’ll pick you up
And if you court this disaster
I’ll point you home.
-“Call and Answer”, The Barenaked Ladies
We all want to be seen. I am so thankful for the people in my life who see me, and for those who let me see them.
For better or for worse, you’ve got a friend in me.