Part 4: That’s What Friends Are For (or On Friendships)
Friends have always been very important to me. They provide me with support, inspiration, stability and, since I like to surround myself with witty people who know how to laugh at themselves, much laughter.
There was a time in the past that I saw my friends as my alternative to the lack of a lovelife. Having different sets of friends meant more choices if I needed to hang out with someone. And different sets meant shifting gears and having a wider repertoire of interests. That’s why when people ask me, “Isn’t it lonely to be alone and single?” I now disagree. It took me years to realize, but eventually I first discovered that my friends keep me from being bored. And a couple more years, I learned an even more important lesson: I myself can keep me from being bored.
You can’t choose family, but you can most certainly choose your friends. So choose well, choose wisely, especially when it comes to gay friends. I first came out to a female friend because I felt she was my safest choice. But immediately after that, I made it a point to also come out to the gay friends that I had. Because being gay means being treated differently, it’s great to have similar-minded people with whom you can bond with, look up to, emulate, and eventually learn from.
And don’t be afraid to let some go, eventually and organically. It’s a fact of life; there will be people whose path of growth will diverge from yours. You may have a lot of shared past, but you now face separate futures. So learn how to move on with grace and love. It’s a valuable lesson that you will definitely keep coming back to, and will serve you well with your family and even with your partner (or partners).
That’s why nowadays I don’t see friendships as an alternative to a lovelife. No, friendships are, in and of themselves, a special and different kind of love. It is not romantic love, but it is love nonetheless.
And if what they say is true, that ideally your lover should also be your friend, isn’t it great that you already have people with whom you can hone your skills in the art of devotion, loyalty, respect, selflessness, and eventually, saying goodbye? (Hello, AJ!)
Thank god for friends.
(Up next, Part 5: We Are Family)