A good friend of mine completely blew me away today. I went into our conversation concerned that after hearing what I had to share that he may no longer want to have anything to do with me. Even though uncomfortable and scary, I knew that I had to speak with him because I believe that true friendships are built on honesty.
Rather than being angry at me, he thanked me for my honesty, thanked me for being me, and told me that he always wishes me the very best. I was truly astounded by this man’s character and thought back to the years when I so desperately wanted that kind of friendship.
It may surprise you to learn that I was a shy kid. Sure, enthusiastic and perhaps a bit brazen at times once you got to know me, but in the beginning I was always quiet when meeting new people. I also was the tallest girl in the grade, one of the first to go through puberty, and you guessed it, the first to get acne.
I had one wish that carried me through a particularly difficult 8th grade year: true friendship. I thought popularity and being well liked meant that I would be accepted, so I desperately tried to fit in. The more I tried, the less I fit.
The summer between 8th and 9th grade, I went to camp in Asheville, which is one of the many reasons I love this very special place and the reason we host Getaway Camp there. One friendship and one single act of kindness in particular completely changed my life.
It showed me that people are inherently good. It gave me hope. Most importantly, it made me feel like being me wasn’t all that bad, and that it was okay to wear my hair curly, crack silly jokes, and take chances on what really mattered.
A couple of years ago, I had to get an emergency appendectomy in Panama. It was one of the most difficult and blessed experiences of my life. It showed me the kindness of strangers and tested every close relationship I had on the deepest level.
It forced me to take a hard look at the type of friendships I really wanted and to let go of the ones that no longer fit me. I was essentially close friend(less) for some time and then about a year ago, during a huge transition point in my business, I realized that I had to get in touch with the “V” word if I ever wanted the types of friendships that would inspire growth, happiness, and true acceptance.
True friendships allow each person to show up as they are, where they are, but they’re always creating the space for you to be the ever evolving very best version of you the world has ever seen.