As I strolled into the room, I smiled widely and attached myself to the friendliest group of black women I could find. They were great! We chatted about their businesses, jobs, children, and husbands. It was awkward describing my relationship status, which is decidedly complicated, so I breezed over that to talk about something I think about constantly: my dissertation.
We watched the performances together. As I drank the wine they shared with me, I thought, “why does Drake keep yelling, ‘No New Friends’? New friends are great.”
In the midst of dancing to old-school Mariah Carey and talking about Beyonce, one of them told me, “yeah, we’re all Jehovah’s Witnesses!” It was a strange experience, but of course I understood why I ‘got’ them. Despite doctrinal differences between born again Christians and Jehovah’s Witnesses, these girls had similar values. They were all married fairly young, and had children. None of us cared for the club scene. And we were all dressed (relatively) conservatively.
Basically, it was like clubbing with Brethren girls.
What’s more, is they all knew each other. When one of them got a little bit too tipsy, they shushed each other like sisters. They spoke with familiarity about church services, joked about singleness being a blessing, and lovingly laughed about their husbands. They acted like sisters. The close-knit group made me homesick for my own friends.
Friendship, as a word, doesn’t define the depth of love and feeling I have for those closest to me. One of my best friends used his abbreviated lunch time to call churches to track down a pastor for my dissertation; he turned around, recorded me talking about my dissertation, and then told me he’d transcribe my 30 minute rambling so I can use it for my introduction. Another one of my best friends has nursed me when I was disgustingly, violently ill. My best friend from high school has listened to me talk about every single crush and relationship I have ever had since I was 14 years old with the patience of a saint! Still another has had long prayer sessions with me.
My best friends stick close by me, they find new ways to support and love me. They are more than friends; they’re family. They invest time, energy and sometimes money into me and into maintaining our friendship. For me, that’s what true love is.
As I promised to call the women I met, I silently made a vow to spend more energy and time on the friendships the Lord already blessed me with–friendships that have lasted 14 years and counting. The friends who have seen me get through high school, college, and grad school, weight loss, weight gain, and a few intense relationships deserve my attention. So I’ll do drinks with the new girls, but my old friends get the bulk of my love.
be well and stay devoted,