When I moved out of state for college, my friendships were what got me through all the new changes happening in my life and the loneliness of being far from family.
After being in my new town for several years, I had made a solid group of female friends who were in the same stage of life as me. This meant a lot to me because being married with a baby at the age of 21, meant that not many people my age could relate to my day-to-day life.
I cherished this group of friends and felt so fulfilled by having them in my life. I considered these friends to be family, especially given that my biological family lived states away.
I thought these friends would be there through thick and thin. I thought we would support one another through anything. When my husband and I decided to stop going to the church all my friends attended and to start going to a new church, I never imagined it would mean losing those friendships.
People I had spent so much time with, laughed and cried with, and loved dropped their friendship with me. It felt like a grieving process for me. I began to wonder whether I could have the friendships I was looking for at all.
While my old friendships were ending, I began to connect more deeply with my next door neighbor. Her children were the same ages as my kids, and we all seemed to get along great.
We spent almost every day hanging out in the backyard, letting the kids run around and play. My neighbor gave me her attention to let me vent and share my sorrows.
It wasn’t until later that I saw not only how much she helped me in such a hard time, but how different my relationship with her was from previous friendships. She showed me that I could rely on people to be there for me, even during the hard times.
When I got very ill last year, she dropped everything and watched my children for days so my husband could be with me while I was in the hospital. I returned the favor by making sure she and her husband had a date night. Since then, we’ve continued to look after each other and our kids.
It showed me just how important having friends outside of my marriage is. My best friend is always my husband, but she was there for us in ways that I didn’t expect and am so grateful for.
We know we are true friends because we trust that we will be there for each other. I know that even if we have a disagreement, it won’t ruin our friendship.
Although I have had many failed friendships and been through tough times with friends, I still believe that friends are essential. Find great people to surround yourself with, to bounce ideas off of, and to share both the good and bad times. Having a friend like that in my neighbor reminded me just how great friendship is.