On the Importance of Having Friends

A really dear friend of mine is coming to visit today from New York. I couldn’t be more excited to see her. It’s been well over a year since we’ve spent time together in person, and it’s been much longer than that since we’ve had more than a couple of hours in which to catch up.
 
As I sit here, on the morning of her visit, I’ve been thinking about friendship in gemeral. I feel so incredibly grateful, and actually quite humbled, by the amount of friends who have come to visit me since I moved to Chicago. Having grown up in Atlanta, lived in New York, and then in Los Angeles, I have friends all over the country, and so very many of them have taken time out of their lives to get on a plane and fly here to spend time with me.
Three and a half years ago, when I made the decision to move to Chicago, there was only one thing holding me back. I didn’t have ONE friend here. The only person I knew was Greg, and to me that sounded like a recipe for disaster. Move across the country for a guy, to a city where I knew no one? I was going to have to make some friends, and some good ones, in order to stay sane and also in order to develop a healthy relationship with Greg, rather than a super dependent one.

And I did. I made some amazing friends here, people I’m certain I’ll know for the rest of my life. In that very first month in here I wrote to everyone I knew, asking if they had any friends in Chicago. Seems like they all did. And it turns out that my friends have really good friends. All that fall I went on a bunch of blind-friend-dates. I met person after person for brunch or drinks and we talked about our friend in common in NYC or LA or wherever, and the world opened up that much more.
 
It was one of the best things I’ve ever done.
 
Friends are incredibly important to me. As an only child without parents, I consider my friends my family. They are my support network, my community, and my heart. And I have a lot of them. I’m one of those people who keeps in touch with EVERYONE. I send holiday cards and texts and emails and I leave messages and I come to visit. I open my home up on a regular basis to everyone I know, cooking dinners and hosting parties. Movie nights, girls nights, afternoon tea, yoga classes on the deck, neighborhood walks and afternoons at the playground. I’d almost always prefer a full house to an empty one.
 
My mother-in-law always says that with each new child your heart just grows that much bigger, allowing you to love each one just as much. I feel that way about my friends. I feel so protective over each one of them, so honored and so incredibly privileged to have them in my life. I genuinely adore each and every person I call my closest. It brings tears to my eyes to think about everyone in my life that I love.
 
Anyway, just some random musings on friendship on this snowy Thursday in Chicago. I cannot wait to pick up my friend at the airport today. I can’t wait to sit by the fire and catch up, and go shopping in the snow, and show her Chicago, and talk and talk and talk.

12 comments

12 Comments

  • Christy
    Posted December 10, 2010 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    I love the blind friend dates! What a cool idea!

  • Christine
    Posted December 10, 2010 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Contacting friends of friends is a really great idea. I too am an only child Claire and they say about only children (along with many other things) that they make their friends into family. I think only children have a great appreciation of social contact, as you certainly do.

  • Julie
    Posted December 10, 2010 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    It really does seem like you have some great friends. They’re lucky to have you too!

  • Posted December 11, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Aw, thanks!

  • Posted December 11, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    I think thats absolutely true. For instance, Greg doesnt seem to have the same kind of drive I do to make friends, and I always attribute it to him having such a large family that he is close with.

  • Posted December 11, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Thanks! It was a life-saver.

  • Posted December 13, 2010 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    I’ve been thinking similarly about my friends recently. It’s such a nice feeling to realise that you have all these people in your life who really care about you, and, more than that, actually LIKE you. It sounds silly, but I’m always (pleasantly) surprised when I realise that my friends actually like me as much as I like them… 🙂
    I’m fiercely protective and proud of my friends. It sounds like you might be too.
    So glad you’re getting to spend some time with a dear friend!

  • Posted December 13, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    No, that makes total sense! And its the big difference between friends and family — family doesnt always *like* you!

  • Kavita
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    “My mother-in-law always says that with each new child your heart just grows that much bigger, allowing you to love each one just as much.”
    I used to wonder how mothers could love all their kids equally. I know now.

  • Posted December 14, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    There you go!

  • Becky
    Posted February 11, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the great post! It’s always good to reflect on the importance of your friends in your life. They bring so much peace of mind and enjoyment. Thanks for sharing!
    I came upon this blog searching for thoughts about friendship. Thought you might enjoy it- http://burisonthecouch.wordpress.com/2010/01/21/a-friend-indeed/
    Thanks for your post!

  • Posted February 12, 2011 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Becky!

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