I learned one lesson growing up: quality over quantity.
Ever heard the saying, 'I'd rather have one close friend than a million acquaintances'? It's the truth. I've had many different groups of friends, but friends tend to come and go. That's why I appreciate the ones that stay. They mean more to me. They matter more to me.
I've been extremely blessed with two women who were once just strangers that I now consider to be my 'best friends'. I met my best friend, Kourtniee, in 7th grade. I had been out of my original school district for a couple of years and had finally moved back. We had both became friends with a girl named Krystal and she invited the two of us (we didn't have any classes together so we didn't know each other yet) to her house for a halloween slumber party. Kourtniee & I immediately hit it off. It was like we had known each other our entire lives! Over the next year, we became the best of friends. She moved to another school for a year in 8th grade, but we stayed tight. She would come spend weekends at my house, or her mom would pick me up and we'd jam out to the 'Gap Band' on the drive to her new house in Oklahoma. She moved back for high school and we stayed the best of friends all the way up until I moved to Kentucky the summer before our senior year. We went through all your normal teenage drama - boys, friends, parents - and survived.
But, could we survive my move? It was tough at first. We had a few disagreements, but we worked everything out. She asked me to be her maid of honor when she got married in 2007, and she served as mine when I got married in 2010. We talk just about every day (in fact, I just texted her back about 5 minutes ago, lol). This year at Halloween, we will celebrate 18 years of friendship. That's a rarity in this world and I treasure it with all my heart.
Then there is my other best friend, Mallory (pictured). When I moved to Kentucky, I didn't know anybody. Starting my senior year at a new high school with no friends is very scary. I had no idea who to sit with at lunch or who to talk to in between classes. I was basically like a zombie, until a couple of girls decided to bring me into their little world by asking me to come hang out with them one weekend. That weekend was EPIC. They invited a couple of other girls over as well and we were all having a big slumber party. Somehow we ran into Mallory while running around town and they asked her to come as well. She did, and that was how the 'Sexy Six' was born. I was SO blessed to find these girls at such a scary time in my life. They came into my life at the exact time that I needed them. I needed at least one person, but I gained 5! The rest of our senior year was full of sleepovers, movie nights, and eating LOTS of cookie dough.
The next summer, 'Sexy Six' went on to college (several of us went different ways) and the group just slowly dissipated over the next few years. We all tried so hard to stay close, but sadly found that as life moves on, things change and sometimes good things fall apart so that better things can fall together.
13 years later and Mallory is still here. Unlike me and Kourtniee, me and Mallory are quite different in many, many different ways. But, it works. We've definitely had some hiccups over the years, but we've overcame the obstacles. There was even a time she REALLY didn't like me (she likes telling that story, but I'll tell you this - I was just trying to help her! When she looks back now, she knows I was right....), but I think over the years she found that I was honestly a 'true' friend to her. I may not see her every day, or even talk to her as often as we'd like, but when we get together - it's like nothing has changed! I so deeply treasure our sillyness and all the laughter we've had over the years. There's never a dull moment with the two of us.
Good friends are hard to find. Good friends that you can truly trust are even harder to find. I'm not saying I don't have other good friends, because I do. I'm just saying that these two ladies are just the perfect example that quality matters more than quantity. They are my longest and truest friends. They've stuck it out by my side for all these years, even when things got hard, and I know that they'll be there for me anytime I need them. Friendship isn't one sided though. You can't expect to 'grow an old friend' by constantly letting them do all the work or you doing all the work. It's a two way street and both friends have to put the effort into it. They say that if a friendship lasts 7 years, it will last a lifetime. I truly believe that. I don't think either of these girls are going anywhere any time soon. At least, I hope not. :)
My best tip for 'growing an old friend'?
Do not judge. - Matthew 7:1
Always remember that everyone is fighting a different battle and even though you may not understand the battle they are fighting, you can always lend an ear to listen. It may just help you grow your own 'old friend.' :)