I got dumped by a friend. Or a former friend, really. “You’re too busy,” she told me. “You have lot going on.”
Yes, that’s true. It’s my preference. I know not to get bored. Years ago, not knowing this about myself and thoroughly bored with my career, I signed up for skydiving. In the air, my feet dangled 3,000 feet above the ground, I gripped the plane’s strut and read the bumper sticker that someone wickedly put there: “Sh*t happens.” Now I prefer to take my risks on the ground.
What I look for in a friendship is something similar to the one between Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. They worked together for 51 years, through wins and defeats, fighting for women’s rights. The first time they met, wrote Stanton, “There she stood with her good, earnest face and genial smile….I liked her thoroughly.” Anthony would babysit Stanton’s children while Stanton worked on her speeches, no small matter since Stanton had seven offspring. And in the end, reflected Antony, “It is fifty-one years since we first met, and we have been busy through every one of them.”
That’s a solid friendship. That’s the kind I like. Yes, I may not return emails in an instant, but I will respond. And if you need someone in the middle of the night, I’ll come running to help.
When I reflect on the whole experience now, I see that the phrase “we get what we look for” is true here. She didn’t have a lot of friends, and she didn’t want a friend, no matter what I did.
What I want is a friendship that endures, through good times and bad. If we get what we’re looking for, well, then I’ll keep looking.