Sometimes our greatest friends are those we don’t expect. The people who slip into our lives quietly, barely making a ripple at first. The ones who stand by us, who we spend our time with, who make us laugh, who teach us things we didn’t know we needed to learn, but then suddenly become the entire current to our ocean.
This kind of friendship is the most beautiful—the kind we don’t plan for.
The kind that changes our entire lives.
I’ve been blessed with friends: those that were there for a short period of time, those that accompanied me to every high school dance, those who made me laugh during the tumultuous teenage years, those that shared and celebrated our college independence, and those that have become so close to my heart, I consider them family.
Friendship is a blessing, but it’s also our teacher.
From loving a friend, you learn how to be patient, loyal, selfless, kind, empathetic, and forgiving. You learn to love yourself, and how to love someone else just as much. You learn that growth and change are natural. You learn to embrace all the ways that your life will shift away from the path you thought you needed it to be on, and that’s okay.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned the most from friendship, it’s that there are no rules when it comes to caring about another person.
It doesn’t matter the sex of your friend, the race, the background, the history, the time frame, or even the age—a best friend is a best friend because of the way you shape and mold and blend into one another’s lives.
A best friend is a best friend because in this crazy world of millions of humans, you chose to love each other.
There are no restrictions on friendship. You can be best friends with someone who is much younger than you, much crazier. You can be best friends with someone of a different culture and background, who listens to different music, who celebrates different holidays, who has a completely opposite faith or view on politics.
Friendship isn’t necessarily about commonality; it isn’t about matching two like-minded people and celebrating this sameness. There are, of course, shared traits in friendship, but that isn’t the only factor.
Friendship is about connection despite difference; it’s about discovering one another, discovering the world, and building a relationship that can challenge that world.
As a 20-something, some of my most valuable friendships are with those around me leading different lives, working for different companies, enjoying different pastimes, following different faiths. Some of these individuals are young, but driven and inspiring. Some of these are my age, but put their time and energy into very opposite things than I do. And some of these are much older than me, ones who somehow slipped into my life and taught me more than I could ever imagine about myself and the woman I want to become.
It’s these friendships that blessed me, that changed me, that challenged me. And for that I’m thankful.
See, there are no rules in friendship.
It doesn’t matter where two people come from, how wide their age range is, or even what their lives are like—it matters that these two people love one another.That they care for one another. That they chose each other.
And choose each other again and again and again.
And I think that’s beautiful. People choosing one another because they somehow, like strange puzzle pieces, make a match. There’s no worrying about what the other person’s puzzle piece looks like, how old it is, or where it’s been.
All that matters is that it fits.