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Friends we can’t live without

Linda Boyne

I can’t speak for the men, but as a woman, I thank my lucky stars every day that I have my friends.

My relationships with the women in my life in no way diminish the relationship with my husband. In fact, I think they enhance it. Girlfriends can support me in ways my husband can’t, because, let’s be honest, we’re just different animals with different needs.

Girlfriends also understand us in ways the husbands and boyfriends can’t. I think there are some things the Y chromosome can’t process. My husband does not want to hear in the most minute detail about every store I went into when I was in Denver, what I saw, what I tried on, what I bought, what I couldn’t find. But my girlfriends do.

I was mulling over this whole concept of friendship driving back from Denver the other day. I was on my way home from a little reunion with a group of six girlfriends, friends since college ” sorority sisters, no less. We have been intertwined to varying degrees in each other’s lives for more than 20 years. At one time or another, we’ve all been roommates. We got each other through failed relationships and job woes. We were at, or in, each other’s weddings. We had baby showers. We’ve traveled together. We supported one another through rough patches and divorce and ailing parents.

I hadn’t seen half the group for several years. However, the foundation of our relationships is so solid that after the initial catch-up of “How old are the kids? How’s your husband? How are your parents?” we slid right into the ease of conversation that only this kind of relationship affords. There’s a familiarity, a comfort, a level of trust with these women that I treasure and revere.

Change is inevitable. We as human beings cannot stop it. As we experience day-to-day life, we evolve. We just can’t help it. I think it’s our general design that we learn as we go along, that we grow and hopefully become better people.

With all this changing we’re doing, how is it that we can have friendships that last a lifetime? And how do these friendships differ from the kind that eventually have expiration dates?

That’s not to say that your friends actually expire; it’s metaphorical. These are the friendships that just end, sometimes in a bad way, sometimes they just fade away with a change in circumstance or location or lifestyle. It doesn’t diminish the quality of your time together or what you shared. I think it’s important to enjoy people for the time they are in your life, to honor what was, to accept gracefully if you drift apart and hold no ill will.

But what of the other kind of friends, these lifelong friends, the friends that no matter how much you change in the course of life, they will always be a part of it.

They are the ones who know you and accept you, warts and all. There is no judgment or cattiness or keeping score. These are the friends with whom you don’t have to edit yourself or qualify a statement, because they know what’s at your core and won’t misinterpret it. With these friends, you laugh a lot, because you enjoy and amuse each other. These are the friends who you would do anything for and who would do the same for you in return. These women make you want to be a better person, merely by their example. These are the women I can see myself living with, Golden Girls style, when we’re 85 and have outlived all our husbands.

I am blessed with many girlfriends, from all periods of my life. I hate to even think where I would be now without them. I know not everyone shares my viewpoint of friendship. But for me, living a thousand miles from my nearest relative, my girlfriends here have become my family, my sisters. I am one lucky woman.

Linda Boyne is an Edwards resident and a regular columnist for the Vail Trail. E-mail comments about this column to editor@vailtrail.com.


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