Last night I had dinner with my two dearest friends from my halcyon youth, Justin and Kate. I've been thinking about the evening, which was splendid and full of fast conversation and shorthand and regaling with latest stories and updates and hilarity. I haven't gone out with J&K in months, but whenever we get together, we're just as solid as we were the last time we went out. In my book, I call these "Progressive Friendships."
You know those friends who you may not see or talk to for a while, but when you get together, the bond is just as strong. It's as if they function outside the space-time continuum. (see page 224 for more on Progressive Friends).
I sometimes underestimate the comfort that common background and experience supply to a friendship. I love my friends whom I've met since high school, but only Justin & Kate can reduce me to peeing my chair with glee at the mention of some long forgotten teacher, or the casual invocation of a store we went to when we were 10. They get me in some deep way, because they knew me when I had braces--heck, they knew me when I had a palatal expander that I had to wind with a key and gave me a centimeter gap between my front teeth for half my senior year of high school. (For the love of god I still have not forgiven you, Dr. Scary Orthodontic Badtime.They give me the benefit of the doubt, they try to understand me because we take it on faith and experience that we always get each other, that we're fundamentally on the same page.
I always fear sounding corny when I talk about friends, but lately I've found it especially crucial to appreciate and bring closer to me the people who support and love me unconditionally; and to spend less time with people who leave me feeling sort of weirdly manipulated or not great about myself. You know those people?