One of the concepts that was impressed upon me when I first came out was the idea of “chosen family.” The idea being that so many lesbian and gay people are rejected by their blood families upon coming out that their friends assume a much more important role in their lives, effectively becoming a family. The older I get, though, the more my definition of friendship changes.
I used to believe that a friend was someone you stuck with no matter what, someone that if she were stranded on a desert island for a year you’d be happy to see when she got back. Friendship was more about loyalty and allowing people to be who they are without judgement. Lately I’ve come to realize that honesty may be significantly more important than loyalty and that a true friend is one you can count on to call you on your prejudices, pretensions, and predispositions.
Friendship is not constant querying, obfuscation, and avoidance.
It means telling someone when you’re angry and why.
It means giving someone you consider a friend a little bit of wiggle room to be self-centered, or absent minded but also being clear about your boundaries, and about when you need your friend to give back to you.
It means being willing to be hurt because you’ve invested in another’s opinion of you.
It means being vulnerable and sharing your life.
Friendship is a two way street.
Today, I gave up on a “friend” who would not give back. The really sad part is, she’ll never know why.