My Whatever Friends

I am a cup-half full kind of gal – in fact, even when there is only a dropperful of water in my cup o’ life, I will still call that cup half full. It may be optimism, it may be happy denial, but it is a fundamental truth of my character. I am, however, a fairly guarded human person and while I am perpetually grateful for that half-full cup, I am also aware that the cup has cracks. No life, including mine, is free from difficulties that threaten to spill that half-full cup all over the floor with no one but myself to wipe it up. If I can claim to have any gift in this life, it’s that I am extraordinarily proficient at patching and repairing my half-full cup. The difficulty of this gift, though, is that very few people realize I need patching.

Enter my whatever friend. The school where I teach recently had a talent show. We had a difficult time deciding on the top four acts because we enjoyed them all so much. We calmly discussed the relative strengths of each performance and, without bloodshed, arrived at our list. The next day, I was talking to my whatever friend. She shared her perspective, which was balanced and thoughtful. We talked about other social activities–to which I hadn’t been invited–and I expressed feeling hurt about being left out. It wasn’t intentional; I just hadn’t been with my friends when they decided to go out. Sound like elementary school yet? It should, because I know I was being childish. In the heat of the moment, even though no one was angry, I blurted, “Whatever,” and I left her office in the me-version of a huff.

This was an unworthy huff. There was nothing to be huffed about; no insult had been rendered. I wasted a good temper-huff on nothing. The fact that the next day I was flat on my back in bed with the flu might have had something to do with my behavior, but I still own it. Later that day, my friend emailed me and said she owed me a hug. I huffed out a “Whatever,” and she was being all gracious and lovely? I was floored. Most of the time, because I am usually fairly good natured, people respond with shock and horror when I’m less than pleasant, but she hung around to let me know she forgave me.

We are both passionate about our jobs. It’s not uncommon for the type of intensity we work with to filter into other areas, which is why we make good sounding boards for each other. She’s one of the few people I know who likes me even when I’m being annoying and childish. I can’t express adequately how grateful I am for the gift of her understanding, so I try to repay her by not being a childish human person very often.

My social networks have been repeating this meme about friendship: “A true friend is someone who thinks you are a good egg even when she knows you are slightly cracked.” I haven’t known many people who look beyond my zippedydoodahness and yeah-everythingness to see the questing and questioning person underneath. She does, though. My whatever friends are the brothers and sisters of my heart.  I love them very much and consider my cup not only repaired, but full-to-bursting with the gift of their friendship. In friendspeak, to them I say, “Whatever.” That’s the best whatever that exists.

 

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