July 18, 2006

The Power of Friends

Metrodad made me think of best friends today.

Over the years I have had a handful of best friends. My first best friend was a guy name Jesse Scrimscher (I have no idea if that’s how he spelled his name – it wasn’t important as a seven-year-old.). We had a fight one day and we left each other in a huff. Soon after, my mother announced we were moving. I didn’t get to say goodbye but saw him briefly when we came back to clean the house. I don’t recall ever seeing him again.

My second best friend was Jeff Lawton. We played baseball and kick the can and even dungeons and dragons. When we got to junior high we eventually grew apart. I don’t recall ever spending time with him in high school as we gravitated to other interest. He is now an air traffic controller (as I found out at my 10-year high school reunion – which was seven years ago) and I know little else.

My third best friend and someone who I still consider my best friend is Brent. We had beginning band together in seventh grade – both of us wannabe drummers – and we forged a friendship that remains strong to this day. We don’t live in the same city and we don’t talk very often but when we do, it’s like time stood still. There’s something comforting in knowing someone as well as I know Brent. He is one of the few people in this world where there is no pretense. I am me and he is he. We talk about everything and know that the other one will understand. It is a friendship nurtured through years of cheering each other on and being friends in every sense of the word. When I think of friendship, it is this barometer that everyone is measured by.

I will turn 35 years old next week. Almost four years ago I moved to where I live now, leaving behind my childhood friends. We knew exactly two people when we moved here and it has been a long hard struggle to establish new friends. And, I have learned something about myself in the process: I’m not good at making friends. While most would consider me an outgoing person, I find it incredibly difficult to initiate close, personal relationships. I wait for the moment to “click” when spending time with a potential friend and when it doesn’t come, I chalk it up to “not being compatible.” Perhaps my “Brent” standard is a bit high. Perhaps I need to remind myself that hours spent in drum practice or meeting in the early morning to ride our bikes to school or working in his family’s business forged a closeness that just can’t be duplicated with an occasional weekend with a new friend. I need to be in this for the long haul.

And as I begin to meet other dads, I am finding a fraternity of men that the only thing we have in common is our children. This is a time for me to step out of my comfort zone and reach out to become that outgoing person everyone thinks I am. This is my opportunity to be friends with other dads and one I just might enjoy.


  1. The last two paragraphs sum up how I have been feeling lately with the whole finding friends thing. Sometimes I feel I have to force a friendship with a dad because our kids get along so well.

    Comment by William — July 19, 2006 @ 6:42 am

  2. And friends on the internet, too? :)

    I’m fortunate that I only moved once as a child, and I’ve stayed within the same area where my parents are since I became an adult. I still have loose contact with friends from my childhood, but I have very good, close friends that we still socialize with frequently from my high school/early college days (the Webmaster was a part of that same group). Our friendships now stretch back over a decade, and it’s fun to look back and see how far we’ve all come.

    Comment by Deanna — July 19, 2006 @ 11:02 am

  3. I have a couple good friends that I’ve been friends with since high school. Luckily, we all live in the same city. I think it’s important for every man to have a man friend. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you will always need someone that loves to cuss, drink, and watch sports just as much as you do.

    Same goes for women…. with whatever the hell it is that women do.

    Comment by Mormondaddy — July 19, 2006 @ 1:42 pm

  4. I have had a difficult time making friends since our Okapis were born as well. It is tough…I don’t have a lot of time to meet people without the kids around – especially other Dads and it’s hard to have a conversation with children around. I find my problem is making time without the family to spend time with other people. Making friends just doesn’t seem as high a priority as being with my family, which of course, makes me less likely to make friends and spend time with friends. Is that something you struggle with as well?

    Comment by JGS — July 19, 2006 @ 7:42 pm

  5. I still live in the area in which I grew up, as do two other “girls” from our original group of five really close friends.

    Oddly enough, though I work in a school full of only women, I have only forged one very close friendship since high school–and that was in college.

    I attribute it to a couple of things. I find I’ve become a much more guarded person as I’ve grown older–still every bit as outgoing as I’ve always been, but on a very superficial level. Also, there simply isn’t time to have slumber parties, talk all night on the phone, etc. We all have families, work commitments, etc. I do cherish my friends who have known me through everything. I recently took a girls-only trip to NC with my very best friend to see our other friend, and it could best be described as “soul-cleansing”. There is something unmatched about our kinship that transcends all of our current obligations, and it was something we want to do on a yearly basis now.

    Comment by Amy — July 20, 2006 @ 4:18 am

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