Friendship is such a curious thing. When you are little, making friends is so seamless. You meet, you play, and boom. Done. You might fight or move on, and I don’t mean to imply that there isn’t heartbreak and high drama in all of that – of course there is. These early friendships are where we learn how to navigate all that stuff and figure out who we are. All I mean is, there is a template for the process and, for the most part, it works.

When you are an adult it’s harder and just weirder. And, yeah, weirder is the right word. It is awkward making friends as a grown-up. I know I am not alone in feeling this way. In fact, “This American Life” just did an entire show all about it.

Now, I happen to be very fortunate; I like the people with whom I work. I like them a lot. They are funny and smart and kind – good people. I enjoy their company and I can say without hesitation I would entrust any one of them with my dog, which is really my highest compliment. I’ve also met some really lovely neighbors who I am very happy to know.

It’s not the same, though.

I miss the people who sat beside me on flimsy bleachers, cracking jokes and making small talk. The people whose houses I went to for dinners and game nights. The people who have known me long and like me as I am. That’s a special kind of bond.

I was thinking about this on my last trip back to “home-home,” the small village a few hours up the coast where I lived before. It is not where I was born, or even grew up. But it is where my kids were born and where they went to school. It is where I spent hours upon hours sitting on those bleachers watching games, walking the woods and baking cookies for school events. And it’s where my friends are.


I’d gone up for a quick visit and lucked into a walk with one of my dearest. We started out just to stroll and catch up, but when all was said and done, we’d accidentally gone about 7½ miles. We were too busy laughing to notice how far we had gone. Please note, not all the things we were talking about were actually funny, either. It’s just that sometimes the alchemy of friendship transmutes the absurdity of tragedy and you laugh at the sad stuff, too. That’s powerful medicine.

That long walk made me think about how much I had been missing all the other long walks. And as I really took some time to mull it over (doing barn chores – the best thinking place), and what should come on the radio but a program where two best friends shared their experience of becoming best friends after stumbling into an ancient Greek Orthodox friendship blessing: Adelphopoiesis.

I don’t have time to do full justice to their story here, but you can look it up on NPR. The point is, there are ceremonies out there to recognize, honor and celebrate friendships – and I think this is something we should bring back and weave into our modern day society. In a big way.

Granted, I am already a big fan of ceremony. It doesn’t have to be fancy or costly, but the act of setting aside time and paying our attention to a moment, a relationship – it is meaningful. We have ceremonies for welcoming babies, for marriages and adoptions, it makes sense to have ceremony for other important relationships, too.

I hope your life is blessed with friends. Real friends, and that you find a way to let them know how much they mean in your life.

For my part, I am going to look for ways to form new friendships here, where I live, and to think about how I can create a way to honor the people whose presence has stood the test of time. The folks who became family there on the bleachers. Here’s looking forward to many more long walks.

Comments are not available on this story.