There is a saying, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold“. Most people have wonderful friends, and all of us choose friendships for a variety of reasons. There are friends who play a round of golf with each other each week; those who go to dinner as couples; a trusted girlfriend who shares your love of antiquing; the special friend you bonded with while you sat on the bleachers at your children’s soccer games. But tucked into a special place in our hearts are the old friends who we have had for a lifetime. While all friendships are meaningful, old friends are the best friends.
They know you better than anyone else. I have had a friend since second grade. We walked to school together and spent countless hours at each other’s homes. We know the ins and outs of our families. Old friends know everything about you. They overlook your faults and focus on the best parts of you. They seem to know what’s best for you, even when you can’t see it yourself. These friends also know what you’ve been through and have a better understanding of who you are.
There is no pretense. With an old friend, you get to be yourself. There is comfort with them and not an ounce of embarrassment. They have seen you at your best and worst. No makeup, sweatpants, and feet on the coffee table is the norm when visiting an old friend.
Awkward silence is never a problem. Whether talking about long ago memories or life in general, there is always something to discuss. I have eight friends who try to get together once a year. We grew up together but now are spread across the country. When we gather to reconnect those five days are filled with nonstop conversation and laughter. Sometimes we need to raise our hands to speak, because there is never a moment of silence.
They are there when you need them. Those old friends will jump when you ask them to. No matter what the situation, they are the ones who will have your back when you need it. Regardless of proximity, they are a phone call away and will be by your side if that’s what you want. If the news is happy or sad, they are generally the first people we reach to, and they do not disappoint.
The love between old friends is unconditional. Like man’s best friend, old friends love each other for a lifetime. Who else would stick around for so many years? There is a reason that you became friends and now, after all these years, remain friends. The bond between you cannot be broken, and while you may not talk all the time, when you do it’s as if you were together yesterday and pick up right where you left off.
If you are lucky enough to have an old friend, or more, in your life, cherish them. A forever friend is a gift. When I see my old friends after so much time has passed, I am receiving a present. The box gets unwrapped and in it are the wonderful memories that we have shared. We will continually add to it and treasure our friendships for a lifetime.