I have spent a lot of time thinking about friendship lately.. and by lately, I mean the last 10ish years of my life. Friendships are hard, or at least, friendships, in my experience, have been hard.
Maintenance: friendships take maintenance and it is so incredibly hard to maintain a friendship with someone with which you suddenly have nothing in common. This is especially true in the 18-30 age range. Some of us went straight to work, some of us did 9 trillion years of school, some of us started families right away, some of us (🙋🏻♀️) are raising their dog as if it is a child. Some of us are traveling now, homemaking later; others are sticking strictly to their career tract; daydreaming about early retirement. Relying on old memories and outdated good times, only works for so long.
It’s not a lack of interest; or a lack of caring; it’s simply.. lack of relatability. I want to hear your stories, all about your children’s drama, and your family trips, but I can’t pretend to be in the same place. I can tell you all about my workplace drama, and my increasing vet bills, or my home renovations, but you can’t pretend to be in that place either. Doesn’t mean I love you less, but we’re in different places. Plain and simple. Friendships when you are in different places in life is challenging. That doesn’t mean they aren’t worthwhile. 💕
Friendships without history are also challenging though. I never knew how comfortable my bubble was, until I left the safety net of KC, with old friends, family friends, school friends, and neighbors. Picking up my entire life and planting roots in Omaha (albeit only 3 hours away) felt similar to being dropped into uncharted, and completely foreign, territory. I no longer could rely on the connections from the past or distant classmates. I had my boyfriend’s friends and their significant others.. but I was most definitely a fish out of water. Flopping violently and trying to find my way back to any semblance of my old “tank” so to speak.
But being alone like that, and even a little bit desperate, puts you in a trench-warfare state of mind and trench-warfare tends to bring out the authenticity of people. Trench-warfare is up close and personal, it’s kind of messy.
In friendship, it’s good times, bad times, and REAL times. It’s honesty all the time and it’s unwavering loyalty. It’s rare to find and harder to keep.
Tonight, I had the most perfect example of a trench-warfare friend. Lucy, my once believed to be lab-mix, that is actually almost a full rottie, is the best kind of a trench-warfare friend.
For illustration, Lucy HATES bath time, with a passion. She will swim just fine, but the minute you try to get her within a 5-foot proximity of the bathtub, she’s immediately a 105 pound, flopping, deadweight that has to be LUGGED to the bathroom by her four paws, hog-tied style. (She doesn’t get bathed often, don’t worry. Her misery = my misery).
But Lucy, my sweet, trench-warfare friend, Lucy, hates me being in the bathtub alone even more than she hates bath time. Any time I try to take a relaxing soak, with a good book, she’s right at the door, whimpering. Inevitably, she sneaks in the bathroom, creeps over the edge of the tub, and lies in the bath water with me. She does this every time, without any real hesitation.
That is a trench-warfare friend. A friend that will put themselves in their least favorite place, at the cost of their own comfort, so that you aren’t alone in the trenches. Lucy doesn’t understand that a relaxing bath is NOT the trenches for me, but I know it is the absolute trenches for her… and she still comes and sits by my side, so I am not alone in the “trenches”.
I don’t think you have to have everything in common, be at the same place in life, or even understand each other perfectly, to share a trench-warfare friendship. But I do think you have to be there. I don’t think you have to be able to relate, but I do think you have to listen to hear and without judgment. Mostly, I think you sometimes have to be willing to sit in the trenches with your friend, be a shoulder to lean on, and just exist. You don’t have to have the answers, and honestly, most the time you probably won’t, but being there will be everything.
I have been blessed with a solid group of trench-warfare friends; some are family, some are from KC; some are from riding horses; some are from college; and so, so many are from Omaha. I have an absolute, metaphorically armed-to-the-teeth, group of girls and guys that would come at my beck and call, the minute I needed them, with 100% support and 0% judgment, and just sit in my trenches with me. They have proven it, time and time again… and I can’t thank them enough for that friendship.
So, my question for you, today, is this: do you have a friend (at least one solid friend) that would sit in the trenches for you? And potentially more importantly, do you have a friend for which you would sit in the trenches?
I can promise you, there will be fakes. There will be trench-warfare friends of convenience and the “friends” that are always there for gossip-purposes, but you should always, always strive to have you to have that one true, genuine, authentic friend; who loves you, for your true, genuine and authentic being.
You deserve a friendship like that. We all do.
Sunny daze ahead, trench-warfare friends. 💕