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Lessons to Live By: The Shapes of Friendship

Hello and thanks for coming back! Speaking of coming back, I’ve just returned from sleepaway camp (year #2!) and I have so many new stories to share with you. 

Having just said goodbye to the people I’ve spent the past four weeks with, I can’t imagine not seeing my camp friends every day (I think that’s called “Camp Sick”–sort of like the reverse of being homesick). Remembering all my great camp memories has, once again, got me thinking about the theme of friendship.  

I’ve written an earlier blog about finding your true friends, but if I’m being honest, not every friendship lasts. And that brings me to today’s life lesson: appreciating the different types of friendships.

Noodle’s Lessons to Live By: Line and Circle Friends

Even though I’m a kid, I’ve been around long enough to have made some pretty good friends. But I’m not still friends with everyone I’ve ever met.

Although I know there are plenty of ways to think about the different types of friendship, I group my different types of friendship into two big buckets: Line Friends and Circle Friends.

Line Friends Aren’t Forever

Line friends are what I’d call temporary friends. These are friends that you’re connected with for a certain period of time in your life. Then, for whatever reason, you both move on.

Maybe a friend moves away, and you realized you just had school in common. Or, sometimes you discover that you don’t share the same interests as you once did. Or maybe you and your friend were just in the same place at the same time. Like when I tried karate a few years ago.

I loved the first karate class because I got to kick through a block of wood. Plus, I thought the kids in the class seemed nice, so I convinced my parents to sign me up for the school year. A few classes in, I decided that karate wasn’t really for me. (In my defense, we didn’t get to kick through wood blocks every time.)

While I had a fine time hanging out with the kids in karate every weekend (I soooo want to call them “Karate Kids”), those friendships ended when my time with karate ended. 

That’s the nature of Line Friends. You’re friends with someone for a certain activity, event, or experience. When that period in your life ends, the friendship sort of fizzles out

The Rarest of Friends: Circle Friends

Then there are your Circle Friends. These are people you hold on to, no matter where you are. In other words, they’re your “forever friends.” 

Your Circle Friends are people you don’t have to talk to or see all that often, but when you get together, it’s like time stood still. Your connection goes deeper than an ordinary friend. My best camp friend Aries and I have a friendship like that. 

Even though we don’t talk as much during the school year, as soon as we see each at camp, we pick up right where we left off. Of all the different types of friendship, Circle Friends are the rarest type, but the ones that I treasure the most.

Right Time, Right Place, Right Space

In a perfect world, your friends stay your friends for a lifetime. But that’s not reality. 

You choose who you are friends with, just as they choose you. But unlike family, you can also choose who you’re not friends with. (I am just pointing out a simple fact, in case my big sister is reading this.)

There’s nothing wrong with having more Line Friends and less Circle Friends (or vice versa). My mom says it’s important to have friends that match whatever place you are in life. 

I wasn’t exactly sure what she meant, but mom explained: “As you get older, the things that are important to you might change. Before I had children, most of my friends were people who I had met through school or work. But when I had you and your sister, I wanted to find friends who also had little children. That’s how I got through that part of my life.”

That sort of makes sense…but let me see if explain it to you another way:

Flashback to my first summer at Camp Hillside (check out the book, HurriCamp!, if you want to hear the full story.) I had never been to camp before. It took me a minute—ok, about a week—to get over the newness of being away from my parents. I became friends with people that weren’t quite like the kids I knew back at home in Great Falls. Talk about different types of friendship!

For the four weeks that I was away, those friends became sort of like my family. Would I still have become friends with them under different circumstances? I would answer that question with a “definitely maybe.”

But for that time and place, my friends filled a space. I needed them and they needed me, though not necessarily for the same reasons. 

It’s OK to Change and Grow

I guess what I’m saying is that it’s OK to change and grow. It’s hard to imagine being any different than I am now when I grow up—except I’ll be older and hopefully taller. But I’m sure I’ll go through different stages of my life where some things are more important than others. 

My parents told me that your situation changes over time. They also said that as I grow up, I’ll want different types of friendship because I won’t be looking for the same things in people as I do now. I can’t imagine that I’ll ever stop wanting someone to play kickball or soccer with, but maybe my parents might be right when it comes to other interests?  

The most important thing to keep in mind is that there’s always room to make more friends. New friends help you learn and grow. And the best part: you never know who might come back to become a part of your “circle” later in life. 

Do you have any stories about your Line or Circle Friends? Please share with them me in the comments section!

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