When you are a parent you have to help your kids navigate the tricky world of friendships. I think in today’s world of social media friends, this might be one of the most important lessons of all. Children are taught in preschool (or day care) that all their classmates are their friends. Then they get a little older and realize, “Hey. Just because I am in the same room as these people doesn’t mean they are all my friends.” So you have discussions about what it means to be friendly to everyone with whom you go to school (or work) but that no, they don’t all have to be your best friends.
Then they get a little older still and start to notice that some people are casual friends that they only talk to in class while others are such close friends that they want to do extra things with them. (And that those other few kids are just jerks.) There is a differentiation in friendship and that’s okay. As long as you don’t give anyone a reason to put you in the jerk category it’s all good. I tell my children, “You don’t have to be friends with everyone but you do have to be nice to them.”
Then they get even older… I’m not sure any of mine are old enough for this yet but I know I am… and they realize that some friends are treasures. That over time you will carefully add people to this select group of friends. There’s no limit to their number – your treasure chest may well be larger than mine – but there is indeed a noticeable difference in the friends that you can’t imagine living without. That’s your closest circle.
If you’re lucky, you’ll marry one of your closest circle. Even so, your closest circle should always expand beyond a marriage. If you’re lucky you’ll find friends that understand the meanings behind your words. Friends who can keep a secret. Friends you can call at any time of the day or night when there’s an emergency. Friends who don’t compete with you but celebrate your joys as if they are your own. Friends who feel your sorrows and are pillars when you need them.
I am lucky. And today, and every day, I thank God for those that He placed within my closest circle.