This post was inspired in part by a comment made by Dorothy McDonnal re: a previous post of mine. Thank you, Dorothy for getting my brain thinking about this topic!
Have you noticed that there seem to be two different kinds of friendships we form? The two types of friendships that I have most experienced are seasonal friendships and life long friendships. They each can be very valuable, can bless us deeply, and can enhance our lives in meaningful ways. Each type of friendship is critical along our life’s journey and each has an important space in our lives.
Seasonal friends are in our lives for a set time and purpose. Often these friends are connected with school. For example, we can have grade school friends, middle school friends, high school friends, summer camp friends, and our college buddies. These friendships can often feel deep and meaningful. We tend to expect them to last longer than that particular season, and when we are lucky they do – but often they do not.
We meet friends in places of worship – church/ synagogue/ etc. These friends are often connected to that place of worship and if you move on to the next church/ synagogue, then a new peer group will surround you in your new spiritual home. Again, some of these friendships do blossom and last longer than a season, but many are dependent upon that unique spiritual experience.
Most of us form friendships and alliances with work colleagues as we “grow up” and get jobs. Some of these people we will keep in touch with long after we move on or retire, but some of them we will only socialize with during the time we are working with them on a daily basis. Sometimes I have been surprised by which of my work colleagues kept in touch and which work colleagues I never heard from again. What I find fascinating is that it is not always predictable.
When we are really lucky we find those special friends whose relationships with us are able to transcend all these temporary spaces of time in our lives (like schooling and jobs or places of worship). These friendships last no matter what the life circumstances may be. These friendships are amazing gifts. I find that with my life long friends I can go months, even years, without speaking to them and pick up as though we had just seen each other the day prior. This is a true test of an enduring friendship. As I mentioned in the paragraph above, what I find so interesting is that, at times, it can be hard to predict who is going to be that lifetime friend. Sometimes they are the people we least expect.
Today, 275 days ’til 40, I am so thankful for both seasonal and lifetime friends. I am currently working on building my immediate network of seasonal friends, hoping that some will bridge the gap into lifetime friends. I hope you find the right balance in your life too.