The concept of friends is one that changes with age.
As a kid, I had my little pack who would run the playground with me. My crew consisted of mostly boys who wanted to play Jurassic Park and would let me be the scientist lady as we ran around like a literal pack of wild animals, or dinosaurs. Since all kids are weird and have no concept of money yet really, the barriers of friendship are low where we could slink in with being funny or crafty or have the ability to host sleepovers. Those raptors/friends became extinct in time. I picked up one of my ride-or-die people soon after moving schools and knowing no one, seeing her dressed in overalls and sitting with a funny accent on the side of the playground. I asked her if she wanted to be my friend and she obliged. 18 years ago.
As a young adult, I remember my friends who developed first rose to the top of cool group with their bras reflecting the GPAs they left behind on the path to being more popular than the rest of us. As we experimented with bad make-up choices and kissing boys and girls for the first time, my friends and I would duck through the halls to avoid being detected by others until high school. We passed notes back and forth through the halls.
As a teen, it is really the first time I saw the shift in friend groups, in the mindsets of where we could end up and who would come along when we could finally pack up and leave that town. We got cooler only because we got slightly more comfortable with ourselves. Grew in to our noses and personalities. Grew a sense of self and a determination to keep following it. I see some of them still from time to time. Late night in the local bars when I go home. A quick picture of their new baby or the wedding I missed. I see another ride or die close to never but every time I need to talk to someone she is still the person I call. I know when she answers the phone it will be like we just hung out, sitting in her parked car with the windows down, letting the hot air come in as we talked about where we were going.
As a young adult, I met my absolute ride or die, soul mate of a friend. I think everyone has to have this person. She is the one who is literally my other half. I get sad if I think she is sad. I can ask her to be the logical part of the brain when I can’t be. And I know she expects the same of me. She is truthful, always, unless she can see I need someone to just be nice and give a well polished white lie.
As an adul(tish), I feel like I am actually at a place I can reflect on the friendships that have come and gone. I can identify the ones that stuck and contemplate those that didn’t. It is after the faulty friendships you can see the masks some have one. I started to recognise the friends that seem like good friends, but realise you didn’t really like them. Those people who somehow creep in to your life and linger, and it is isn’t until something happens when you get the moment like “Dude, you are not that nice. I don’t feel better being around you.” At this point in life you actually have to schedule time in to see people you want to. Precious time. I feel guilt for myself for wasting so much time on so many people who I wouldn’t have as my ride or die. I only have time for the ride or dies now. That is all I want. I take down notes on things I want to my best friend about if I can’t get ahold of her. I cannot wait to hear her opinion. I cannot wait to be around her and feel like the coolest, smartest best me. And that is what a ride or die can do.
Do you have this person? If not, I suggest finding them. You can try asking the stranger on the playground (or adult equivalent, so bar?) if they want to be friends. You can try meeting them through a series of unfortunate events. You may already know them. I challenge you all to sit and think about your roster, your friends, your ride or dies. Who makes you feel like the best version of you? Keep them. Who doesn’t? Fucking lose those numbers then. I think we have forgotten after years of collecting friends and likes the value of a real friend you actually like.
A good friend has the power to save|change|make|expand your life.