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Friday, 18 December 2009


By Claire Jean

A friend is someone who can see through you but still enjoys the show.

- Author Unknown
Close friends or best friends? Referring to someone as a best friend sounds exceedingly sophomoric to me today. Besides, declaring a person as a best friend carries more responsibility than I care to take on. A close friend, on the other hand, does not sound as taxing.

We are interlocked either good or bad with our relatives. However, acquaintances can become our friends by choice. Upon looking back carefully as to the initial appeal, most likely, we find that they usually each had a capacity to satisfy a need. It sounds selfish and is. However, I must assume then to also be fulfilling some need in each and every one of them.

I feel fortunate to have a mixture of personalities in my small circle of friends. One such friend would only be too happy to accommodate another’s wishes or recommendations while another might just flat out refuse regardless of the seemingly necessity or reasonableness of such request.

Some continue to battle the natural process of aging while others appear comfortable and proud of where they are in life. Some are deeply religious while others practice no religion. Some are avid readers; some rarely pick up a book. Some love to spend time in the city; some strike a look of panic at the mere thought. And on it goes.

When I want an honest opinion of something about myself, I know whom to ask. However, there have been instances when such directness could and has practically knocked me off my feet. Even so, it’s done with what’s truly believed and I admire the courage of someone being so open and honest. And, after all, I did ask.

Another friend may well contest anything negative I might be feeling about myself whether it’s the manner of how rightly or wrongly a particular situation was handled right down to an opinion of new coat, hair style, etc. As long as it was my doing or my possession, that makes it good enough. Sometimes this reaction can prompt a soothing effect for a time, even though I might know or feel differently.

Most importantly, I have finally learned these many years that we cannot make someone a friend. I’ve worked very hard at times as a younger person trying to make a meaningful relationship happen. Of course, there are exceptions. Sometimes it might take a little time to really see the person but at this stage of life, I don’t want to use my time hoping something will suddenly come together to help bolster a friendship.

Reaching back many years ago, there used to be a fun activity whereby exchanges of cards, letters, etc. would be sent signed only as “your secret pal.” I also remember being part of a letter exchange program. We wrote to people far from where we lived. This most likely was a school project since I don’t know how else we were able to obtain names and addresses of those individuals we did not know and never - at least, I - got to meet.

I don’t know anyone connected with Time Goes By personally, but feel as though I do. Overall, this group has been and hopefully will continue to be my idea of a prized circle of modern-day secret pals/friends.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Hello Claire Jean,

I enjoy reading the stories you write and I also enjoy the comments to make about my stories,so I am very happy to include you in my circle of friends.


Your Secret Pal

Love the "protesters." The "Friend" piece just hits the spot..esp. as you get older and you hope wiser, you get kinder. I can't tell you the number of times I have watched someone's face when another says they are "best" friend of so and so..Oh, I thought, it still means something to her...If you are lucky enough to have gathered friends along your 50/60/70/80 years on earth, you are lucky enough...love the sorting method, certainly there are friends you keep just because somehow you can tell each other things and no one gasps or makes you feel like the fool, even though long friendships can certainly contain those "foolish" things..how we all face aging is another great chapter..so happy to have kept many old friends, but have added almost every decade some treasures too..thanks for writing such wonderful "wake up" messages...Mary Follett

Old friends are special because you have shared so many things through the years. New friends are special because they give you a new perspective on life and add the zest of new discoveries.

I have found some deep friendships among my blogging friends; all are new and all are exciting.

For me, it all started on 'Time Goes By' and the friends I have found there mean more to me than they will ever know.

Delightful and thank you. My once large crowd of dear friends shrank as we all moved to different parts of the county. Now I am making new aquaintances....who might be friends one day....at my morning swim class. New doors open every day it seems.

I loved having penpals in elementary school. Some were school related (classroom to classroom) but there was also a list in the back of Children's Highlights magazine; I found a correspondent in Tasmania that way.

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