Prompt: How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?
(Author: Martha Mihalick)
Beginning in college and through my 20's, I didn't really have that many girlfriends. Most of my really good friends were male. I'm not really sure why. My best friend in high school was Pam and we understood each other. Neither of us were close with a lot of female friends and I think that was one of the things that helped us become so close. Through the years, Pam and I stayed close even if there was significant amount of time between visits. But most of my day-to day friends were still men. After I got married, my husband was my best friend. After my divorce, the friends that helped me through were also male. I like men! What can I say? I married another one and this one is a keeper, but there is one key difference this time.
Over the last few years, I developed relationships for the first time with a number of female friends. Oddly enough, it was through the Internet. The stigma attached to virtual friends has pretty much gone away but I would sometimes feel a bit embarrassed to say that the people I interacted with most were online. Introducing the idea of online friends to my husband (boyfriend at the time) was interesting and he had to get accustomed to the idea that my confidants were via email and we shared a lot! That eventually changed and I met most of my online friends in person. Now we are friends in real life who stay in touch through the Internet. (OK, it's a bit of a subtle nuance but work with me.)
Where is all this leading and does it have anything to do with the prompt? Well yes, it does. I think that I appreciate the female friends I have more every day. Maybe it's my age or the place I am in life but I have come to appreciate the ability to reach out to any one of them any time of the day or night and know that when they check their inbox, I'll hear back from them. I have learned a lot from these ladies, from the serious to the silly. My changing perspective on these relationships has been gradual but every now and then, there's a burst of insight not previously considered. This year especially, as many of us have had some serious matters to handle and some major changes in our lives, their constant love and support has changed my perspective on a number of things. Most of all, my perspective on friendship in general and female friendship in particular.