“Aren’t you embarrassed to be friends with her?”

This was the question a friend asked me about another of my friends a while back. She went on to elaborate:

“She can be so inappropriate. She has no class. She says and does things that make me cringe. If I were you, I’d worry about being seen with her. She’s so…unprofessional.”

“I love her,” I replied. “She makes me laugh. She’s one of the most generous people I know. She’s stood by me when it would have been convenient for her to walk away. She reminds me not to take myself seriously. She’d help me hide a body, no questions asked. I’m pretty sure she loves me almost as much as I love her. We don’t always see eye to eye, but we respect each other enough to remain close friends, despite our differences. She’s a true friend, in every sense of the word.”

I was reminded of this conversation this week when politics tore too many friends apart on social media.

Let’s face it. Life is boring when everyone around you thinks the same way you do. We need friends who love us while challenging us to think outside our bubbles, yet who allow us to be ourselves without consequences. I don’t want to have to censor myself or worry that my opinion is going to hinder our ability to be close. The last thing I want in someone who shares my tears and my laughter is a 24-hour “professional.” If that were a popular option, psychiatric offices would all have fully-stocked bars inside,complete with dance floors and a deejay. I get enough “professional” behavior from strangers. When I’m with friends, I want to let loose, laugh with my whole heart, share private jokes that can have us snickering and no one else understands. I want to tell you my deepest secrets, my fears, my dreams, and know you’ll not only keep them safe, you won’t deride me for them or blab them to the rest of the world. I want to be me and know that I’m totally accepted that way–flaws and all.

If you’re my friend, I accept you as you are. I’ll keep your secrets and hold your hand when you’re hurting. I’ll help you hide a body–no questions asked. I’ll pick up the phone at three in the morning or drop what I’m doing to come to you if you need me. I love you for our differences as well as our commonalities. Oh, we’re gonna argue. I’m a redhead with an Irish temper and a sensitive heart. I take things personally sometimes. But I always try to communicate my feelings with you so we can discuss it and get over it. I tend to see the good in you unless you give me a peek into your darker side. If I do see your darker side, I’ll forgive you–even when you’ve hurt me. And I’ll defend you to anyone who calls you unworthy or unprofessional. I hope you’ll do the same for me. 

If we disagree about something, no matter how strongly, I hope our friendship is enough of a reminder to you that we benefit more from knowing each other than we do from “unfriending” one another.

P.S.: The friend who wondered about my friendship with someone so inappropriate? She “unfriended” me a while back. Go figya.

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