Monday, February 23, 2009

What you get from a relationship

One of my most interesting friends dropped me a line last week.

We talked for more than an hour about nearly everything -- from our lives to our philosophies to our next steps. She's always up to something new and unusual -- learning a language, reading an interesting book, connecting with mutual friends we haven't seen in a while.

It had been some time since we last had chatted. With her, though, it's always as if I'd seen her yesterday. She has one of those ebullient, charismatic personalities: She's the flame, you're the moth. We always have such fun conversations. And we always make plans to see each other -- plans that just never seem to happen.

She's my quick-fix friendship. I hope I always know her. After we talk, her enthusiasm buoys me for days. But I'll never count on her to make good on our plans, to show up for a gathering, to send me the name of that fascinating article she insists I have to read. But I'll love her forever, and will always look forward to our next connection, however fleeting it is.

She's an interesting contrast to my most important friend -- a woman I've known since high school and someone I can always count on to show up no matter how long it's been since we last spoke.

My always-there friend and I catch up infrequently. Our conversations, spoken or written via e-mail, are short. We laugh and we cry together, and we're equally comfortable doing both.

We see each other not as often as we'd like. But our connection is always deep, our sadness at having to part is always heartfelt, and our efforts to get together always turn out.

These women have taught me about the give-and-take of friendships, about how high --or low -- to set your expectations. And to rejoice in what is offered.

That's been an important lesson.

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