Letter #10 – Enduring friends
From: Brett Trapp – Nov 9, 2011
To: Brett Trapp – Nov 9, 2001
I told you yesterday about the value in traveling with friends. Let’s talk about friends for a minute.
At the age of 29 (only ten days til 30), I’ve been able to see a bit farther here. And what I see is that lots of high school and college friends fall away–life happens and paths diverge. But that’s not so bad. It’s impossible to be close friends with everyone, so we have acquaintances as well. But it’s overly simplistic to classify people as either acquaintances or close friends.
There’s a middle category. I call them enduring friends.
These are the friends who you were close with during a previous season of life but not so much now due to busyness or geography. These are friends who bring out the old stories in you and make you smile. These are the friends that don’t get mad that you don’t call all the time. These are friends that make you say, “We pick right up where we left off.” Despite distance, these friendships endure.
Why am I telling you all this? Brett, I think I’ve figured out the way to create enduring friendships. Real conversations and vulnerability. So many college friendships are built on shallow things–fraternity, parties, girls, sports, fun. All great things, but friendships can’t take root in that soil alone. That’s shallow soil. They need the richness of real conversations about things that matter–God, family, beliefs, life at 60. And they need talk of the hidden things–insecurities, pain, weaknesses, fears. We’ve been taught brainwashed by a culture obsessed with strength. But there is beauty in weakness. There is relief in weakness. It gets exhausting to always be strong, and it becomes a race of one-up-manship. My friend Traylor talks a lot about how people should “connect at weakness.” This week, I heard another guy say, “We’re all clay pots. And our cracks are our beauty.” They’re right.
Speak of the things that the fear-digger inside of you wants to bury. There is healing there, and it pours the foundation for friendships that endure. When that foundation sets, it’s there for good.
P.S. – Coffee, onions, and NPR: Believe it or not, you’ll like all these one day.