I originally wrote this post on February 12, 2008. I published again, almost exactly 12 months later, on February 1, 2009.
Tonight, I'm publishing it for the third time because it still resonates so deeply with me and remains one of my absolute all time favorite blog posts. Five and a half years after its original publication on Little Merry Sunshine, I find myself going through a Season change. Yes, we are literally transforming from Summer to Fall, but some of my relationships are also transforming. Some are ending and others are just beginning. I see it quite clearly; perhaps more clearly than I've seen it ever before in my life.
So it's through the dual lenses of grieving the relationships ending and hopefulness for the ones just beginning, that I share with you my most fundamental beliefs on relationships of all kinds.
I have always believed there are three types of friends: Reason, Season, and Lifetime. None of them is bad. In fact, they are all equally important.
Reason Friends come into my life for a specific reason - to help me grow, to help me learn a lesson, etc. Once the reason is over, the friendship comes to its natural end. Sometimes work friends fall into this category. We may become very close to Reason Friends and share many intimate details from our lives, but they are still Reason Friends. I usually mourn their departure, but sometimes it's so gradual neither of us notices until it's too late. I also usually hope that our paths cross again.
Season Friends are in my life for a period of time. Some of my friends from college fall into this category. They were there for those 4 years, but after that Season in our lives was over, we went our separate ways. I always mourn when these friendships end because it means a significant time in my life is over, but it is also a time of exciting opportunity. Like Reason Friends, I hope my life path will cross again with my Season Friends.
Lifetime Friends, however, are my touchstones, my lifeblood. Without them, my life is empty. They are there through the thick and thin, exuberance, and sorrow. No matter what happens in our lives, our friendship remains. Sometimes we aren’t as close as others, but we always come back together. The thing about Lifetime Friends is that we can be apart for a decade or more, but when we finally come back together, it's like time has stood still and we pick up right where we left off. Being a Lifetime Friend has nothing to do with when the friendship began. It could be a 40 year old friendship or a 4 week old friendship.
Please don't misunderstand me. I don't treat any of my friends differently. Most of the time, I don't even consciously know which category they fall into.
Because February is the season of Love (and not just the romantic kind), it reminds me to tell my friends how much I love them. I know I don't say it often enough. But I do really and truly love each of my friends. So this Valentine's Day, I'm sending big hugs and kisses your way.