We were sitting around making idle chit-chat when she suddenly blurted out, “I was unfriended on Facebook.”
I fixed her with an incredulous stare and asked, “You were what?”
She nodded affirmatively and repeated, “I was unfriended on Facebook.“
“You’ve got to be kidding, right?”
“Why and how does one go about unfriending someone?”
She wasn’t exactly sure of the why, but it seems that unfriending someone on Facebook is a common occurrence. One simply clicks on “unfriend” and presto you have the dubious distinction of being minus one person on your friend list. Easy come, easy go, I suppose.
I have a modest 246 friends—and I don’t know all of them personally. In fact, I recently met a “friend” whom I’ve never laid eyes on before at the post office. He recognized me by my picture. I friended him because I admire his photography. We share a fascination with photographing cloud formations. He is a noted photographer and I, on the other hand, am a wannabe.
One of Mom’s favorite maxims (and she had many) was “The only way to have a friend is to be a friend.” Sorry, Mom, but how in the world can I be a really-real friend to 246 folks other than hitting “like” when they post something, even if it’s nonsensical.
As far as I know, I have never been unfriended on Facebook, but I’m sure as hell going to check my friends list. I mean, really, one never knows, does one? (Another of Mom’s maxims.) Likewise, I sure as hell know that I have unintentionally burned some bridges—bridges that should be standing rather than reduced to smoldering ashes.
Friendships are tricky, don’t you think? There is no “one size fits all” friend because in reality, different friends fill different needs.
Friendships that start in childhood are sometimes the most enduring. Childhood friends understand what makes us tick. They are aware of our tendency to overreact or procrastinate; they know our frailties and our strengths. They put up with our dark side; they love us, warts and all.
Some childhood friends grow and change as we do. We may not see them for long periods of time and when reunited, we can pick up where we left off. Other childhood friends drift apart. A long “Christmas boast” letter lets us know they are alive. Sadly, we realize that our priorities have shifted and there is little left to say.
Professional or workforce friends offer comradery. They can make or break our work environment. They are like a family, of sorts. But, many times these friendships rarely extend past business hours, save for the annual Christmas party.
We all have made friends of necessity. When I became widowed for the second time, I was thrust out into an alien world, again. Most of my friends are the other half of a twosome—and I love them dearly. However, for widowed folks, life’s most brutal blows are welded on weekends when the open wounds allow loneliness to seep into our bones. I applied Mom’s “To have a friend….” maxim and put myself out there and made new friends.
I have friends I dub “You too” friends. These friendships are usually born during a casual conversation. Something will be said that will ignite a magical spark and connection. Then one will say, “You too?” There is a mystical moment of awareness when we know we have bonded in an extraordinary way.
Friendships that are formed in a church community often become another type of extended family. We share a common ground that is rooted in our faith. Although some of these friendships span beyond Sunday mornings, there is a divine beauty when we worship together.
I don’t believe that friendships need be gender exclusive. I have guy friends that are special to me; but not in a romantic way. These relationships have enriched my life. Society will try and tell a different story, don’t believe it. It’s a unique experience to see the world view from a male prospective.
Our closest friends are the polished gems our lives. My sister-in-law SIL shines brightly among them. We have weathered countless storms together. We rejoice in good times and are sounding boards for each other during times of perplexity. They don’t cut and run when we are at our worst and unapproachable. They may stand back to give us breathing room, however, they continue to love us through our unlovable times.
Then there are the BBF (best friends forever). I am lucky that my BBF is my sister Nancy. We are bound by blood, yet we would choose each other even if we weren’t sisters. She is the one I can call at any hour to laugh or complain. She has been there through the trenches and triumphs of my life. She holds my secrets and dreams. She is the one who can break through the walls I construct to protect myself from hurt. She can read my mind (scary, for sure) and tell me off when I need it. She is my sister, my friend.
My life has been blessed by the friends that have come into and gone out of my life. Each friendship I have formed has a distinctive significance. Some of these friends crossed my path at the most opportune times; most are unforgettable.
There is a poem on friendship by an unknown author titled, “Reason, Season, Lifetime” that resonates with me. Here are the opening lines:
“People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do with that person.”
I have not quite figured out the reason or season. But suffice to say that my friendships whether they are old, new or long – gone are deeply engrained in my heart where they will remain forever…
Celia Iannelli is a native New Yorker enjoying a second career — in ‘retirement’ — as a freelance writer. She lives in Jamesport.
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