Remember to Tell Your Friends You Care

I was eating dinner and chatting with a friend on his patio. We were talking about people’s ability to express themselves and I said, “Sometimes, I feel like I can express myself better when I’m writing. It gives me time to think about what I want to say. I can share my deeper feelings with someone more easily when I write letters versus having a conversation.”

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The sun was setting and the garden lights had come on moments earlier. They were casting triangular beams over us and the modern, concrete stepped terrace that defined the back patio wall. Every plant, every pot, every piece of furniture, every dinner plate and wine glass, every topping on our smoky grilled pizza and even the bubbly in our glasses had been meticulously chosen, acquired, cared for, and presented. I felt like I was sitting in a magazine spread.

He smiled and said, “You can write me a letter.” I just smiled back, knowing that the comment was half-jest. But the idea stuck with me.

In an age where spoken communication largely sits in the arena of opinion or small talk and friendships are determined by comments and likes, birthday greetings are texted or splashed on social media, how refreshing it could be to sit down and write to someone from the heart.

For a large portion of the the people in the United States, today is the beginning of a four-day weekend. So as you find yourself lying by the pool, or relaxing in a lawn chair, it might be nice to think about who you would write to and what you might like to say to them. It might be even nicer if you actually pull out a pen and write it!

Because the only way ever, for someone to know how we feel, to know what’s going through our minds, or to know what’s truly dear to us, is for us to say so. Until neuroscientists invent a mind reader, language is our greatest gift for creating intimacy and understanding.

Dear Friend,

In some ways I can’t even conceive of 21 years. It's actually half of my lifetime! In truth we met a little earlier than that, so I've now known you longer than I have not. Imagine!

But I’m not writing to talk about time, although it is a piece of it I suppose. It’s the years friends share that create a winding, colorful road of experience.

In those early days, I was the wide-eyed girl from Small Town U.S.A. and you the International, cultivated sophisticate; introducing me to the wonders of chamber music and caviar brunches.

In truth, I sometimes suffered from the splinters of your humor and was intimidated by your refined tastes and Mercedes friends — but I couldn’t stay away! Your joie d’vive was as intoxicating as your champagne and Lillet.

The excitement of being able to tag along far outweighed the voltaic surges. And by god you can always make me laugh! (My most favorite thing in the world to do after giggling.)

Our nights out dancing were my favorite: the pulsing of the music, the hot sweaty bodies, the buzz of the booze. One night, someone called me your “fag hag.” I’m still not sure if it was simply a drunken jest, or an intended slight, but I truly didn’t care. I loved being with you, I loved going out with you, I loved your company and being in the light of your seemingly endless confidence.

And while it’s been mostly fun and games, like any dear friendship there are the deeper moments I cherish too. I can always count on you to ask the poignant questions: the ones other people are afraid to ask, the ones that make me look at myself and take stock, the ones I don’t always want to answer.

I can also count on you to share your honest, if not popular, opinion. It’s a trait I value and wish I had the chutzpah to emulate!

I love how we’ve grown and our friendship's matured. Not all friendships survive the scraping of time’s nails; the influx of children and romantic partners, career changes and moving towns, new hobbies and more complicated schedules. But we’re still here and, like a favorite pair of jeans, we just get more comfortable with age.

Sometimes I feel like my life is a shell of what it was, or what it could be, so I live vicariously through your travels, your adventures, your theater experiences, and fancy dinners. I don’t feel jealous, instead it feels like an act of generosity that you share them with me; that I get to see and hear about these things that are not mine to experience right now.

I know you adore children and dreamed of having your own, so I’m always happy to share mine with you: especially on Saturday night when I need a sitter. But seriously, maybe that’s one of the deep seated truths about friendship; there aren’t enough hours in a lifetime to do and have everything, but when we open ourselves and share freely with one another, in a way, we can have it all. We have access to so much more than we could ever be or do on our own.

I can’t claim to know what the purpose of life is: why any of us are here, or what the goal is. I do know I love it. I love this life, this journey. I love the odyssey of being human. And it’s that much more special because you’re part of my experience. You’re part of my story. You’re part of my journey, part of my life.

For that, I am forever grateful. And I look forward to all the memories we have yet to create.

With deepest love,

Christine