Saturday, March 9, 2019

Friend? Acquaintance?

The words 'friend' and 'acquaintance' are really not interchangeable. I am casually familiar with a lot of people who are witty, warm and fun to be with, but good friends with only a very few. I am aware that people rarely think of the difference. But the difference was made abundantly clear to me over the past few years.

The friends Warren and I held dear gave us an abundance of support in countless ways, even though almost all of them live on the other side of the country. That kind of support can never be repaid. It is what sustained us and kept us hopeful during his illness. We never quite got that kind of support from others, not all, of those who lived closer. They were kind and concerned....the "thoughts and prayers" kind of concern. But they were emotionally and physically distant for the most part.  Nevertheless, when we did meet up with them, they were genuinely kind and profuse with their good wishes and we were grateful for that kind of affection.

What we were most bewildered and hurt about was how two people we thought were really good friends for so many years just stopped communicating with us completely not long after Warren became ill. We heard nothing............ crickets.......from them. It's as if they just threw us away. And that is what prompted me to think about this subject, again.

This is just an interesting observation I have made, not a judgment about anyone I know. With friends, we were part of their "inner circle." With acquaintances, we were on the perimeter. The thing is, we understood that people have their own lives, activities, obligations and interests. And as newcomers wherever we lived (six different states), we found it hard to break in to established "inner circles." After a while, though, in each place we lived, we made our own inner circle. But in life, it's necessary to have both kinds of relationships. Friends AND acquaintances round out a lifetime of experiences, without which we could not survive.

And so, I hold my friends who continue to provide the support I still need, close to my heart. And I deeply enjoy the relationships we made with others and welcome meeting new people who will enlarge my circle.

So, friend or acquaintance? Does it really matter? Both are necessary for a life well-lived. And a bonus to all of this is that, in our lives and in my life, some acquaintances have become extremely good friends and for that, I am deeply and truly grateful.

Copyright © 2019. Reisa Sterling Miller. All Rights Reserved.