There are few things in life more valuable to me than my friends. God, of course, and family, are important, but over the years, the line between family and friends has blurred so that now friends have become more like family to me. As we grow older and our extended family and parents pass away, we tend to draw closer to our friends and rely upon them for the advice, companionship and support once provided by our close family members.
Just about all of us have friends, at least I hope so. But what kind of friends are they? Friends seem to fall into three general, though occasionally overlapping, zones.
“Friendship isn’t a big thing – it’s a million little things. ” ~Author Unknown
Zone 3: Friends in this zone are people who you have interacted with in the past, probably on a regular basis, but now you only stay in distant touch. They may be former coworkers, neighbors, teammates or classmates. Occasionally, they pop up or you think of them and give them a call. They could also be categorized now as acquaintances. Your connection to them is remote, irregular and very limited. If you needed a favor or were experiencing a difficult situation, they would not make the cut as your “go to” people.
“A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world.” ~Leo Buscaglia
Zone 2: These friends are in a closer circle around you. Your current coworkers who see you regularly, have a bond with you, and maybe lunch with you most days, your neighbors that you hang with at summer barbecues, the guys on your bowling team that you see every week and genuinely enjoy, and those people whom you talk to every week or so and see on a semi-regular basis, such as the occasional weekend dinner or movie all fit into Zone 2 friends. You’re definitely close with them, but they are not privy to your deepest thoughts and desires.
“The antidote for fifty enemies is one friend.” ~Aristotle
Zone 1: This inner circle is comprised of your most intimate friends. It is in this circle that I find my greatest joy and comfort. The people who populate this group are the kind of friends that walk in when the world walks out. They are there to pick up the pieces when you are falling apart. They won’t be mad at you if you call or text them at 2 a.m. because surely you have a very good reason for doing so. They always see the best in you and make excuses for the worst. They are generous with their time, love, and belongings. They help you and think of you in any situation in which they know you have a need. They are people who are what you would call Grade A High Quality Human Beings because theirgoodness and love does not only extend to you, but overflows onto any and all with whom they may come in contact. Their relationship with you is rock solid, and it would take far more than a harsh word (though there never is one) or a nuclear blast to destroy it. It is a bond of understanding that allows both you and your Zone 1 friends to experience the same kind of unconditional love that you would extend to a family member, often even closer than some of your family relationships. More often than not, these are people with whom you have had a past, a history over a long period of time. Thankfully, here in the company of your Zone 1 friends you can be yourself, confident that you will not be drawn into any game playing, competition or need to try to read the expressions on their faces to understand just where you’re at, because you already know!
“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. ” ~Albert Schweitzer
I thank God every day for the gift of all of my wonderful friends, Zones 1 through 3, but especially for my wonderful and amazing Zone 1 friends: Amy, Elly, Jamie, June, Lisa, Pat and Rhonda, who have supported me and stood by my side through so many of the ups and downs of life. They have loved me through my deepest losses, and rejoiced with me at every moment of victory. They have worried over me, loaned and borrowed and out right given me the best of what they had when I needed it the most.
Thank you, beautiful ladies, for all that you have done for and been to me. It is my sincere hope that I can bless each one of you with the same love and generosity that you have shown me. I love you all very much!
“A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.”~Arnold Glasow
“Most of us don’t need a psychiatric therapist as much as a friend to be silly with. ” ~Robert Brault, http://www.robertbrault.com
“Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty. ” ~Sicilian Proverb
“A loyal friend laughs at your jokes when they’re not so good, and sympathizes with your problems when they’re not so bad. ” ~Arnold H. Glasgow
“The friend is the man who knows all about you, and still likes you.” ~Elbert Hubbard, The Notebook, 1927
“A good friend is cheaper than therapy. “ ~Author Unknown
“If a friend is in trouble, don’t annoy him by asking if there is anything you can do. Think up something appropriate and do it.” ~Edgar Watson Howe
“The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend.” ~Henry David Thoreau
“The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart. “ ~Elisabeth Foley
“One’s friends are that part of the human race with which one can be huma n.” ~George Santayana
“A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails.”~Donna Roberts
“If I had to sum up Friendship in one word, it would be Comfort. “ ~Terri Guillemets
“If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself alone. A man should keep his friendships in constant repair.”~Samuel Johnson
“You can always tell a real friend: when you’ve made a fool of yourself he doesn’t feel you’ve done a permanent job. ” ~Laurence J. Peter
“Friends are those rare people who ask how you are and then wait for the answer.” ~Author Unknown
“A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out. ” ~Grace Pulpit
“One doesn’t know, till one is a bit at odds with the world, how much one’s friends who believe in one rather generously, mean to one.” ~D.H. Lawrence
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival. ” ~C.S. Lewis
“Constant use will not wear ragged the fabric of friendship.” ~Dorothy Parker
“The best kind of friend is the one you could sit on a porch with, never saying a word, and walk away feeling like that was the best conversation you’ve had.”~Author Unknown
“The language of friendship is not words but meanings.” ~Henry David Thoreau
“A true friend is one who thinks you are a good egg even if you are half-cracked. ” ~Author Unknown
“Friends are kisses blown to us by angels. “ ~Author Unknown
“It is the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter. ” ~Marlene Dietrich
“Nothing but heaven itself is better than a friend who is really a friend.” ~Plautus
“A real friend is someone who would feel loss if you jumped on a train, or in front of one . ” ~Author Unknown