I judge my level of commitment to a friendship based upon what I would do in the event of a zombie apocalypse. Meaning if I really like you I will most likely drive fifty miles out of my way to save your ass from the zombie uprising, but if you happen to be one of the three people in this world whom I truly dislike then I’m going to most definitely accidentally push you into the waiting mouth of a zombie herd (while loudly reciting my detailed list of the many grievances I have against you, by the way).
Because friendships are complex. Certainly more complex than love. Love says, “I will do anything for you.” Friendship says, “I will do most things for you…after I evaluate the situation.” Which is exactly the point: love is the heart, friendship the brain.
Friendship is encouragement with caution. Faith with doubt. Laughter with tears. Friendship is being told those jeans make you look fat. It is giving, while expecting nothing in return…but secretly kind of hoping you at least get a free Starbucks out of it. Friendship requires work, but is not in itself work.
True friendship is rare. True friends, even rarer. Friends like Tom, who spent part of our eight hour car ride this past weekend teaching Chris the lyrics to a certain song so that when walking down the streets of Chicago the following day, Chris could spontaneously belt out, vibrato and all, “Chicago! Chicago! It’s a helluva town!” Friends like Jackie, who is such the perfect maternal foil to Chris’s paternal upbringing, it prompts Chris to say, “If I had a mom, I’d want her to be you.” And friends like Tyler, who Chris looks at as the big brother he so desperately wishes he had, the ultimate role model.
I hope one day Chris finds his Tom. Or his Jackie. Or his Tyler. I hope he finds those people he would rescue from the zombies and he learns to steer clear of those people he would accidentally push into their waiting mouths. I hope he finds that circle of friends who become his family. That’s not too much to hope for, is it?