I consider myself a pretty easy and outgoing guy, outside of work , that is. All things considered though , I don’t have many friends. I have had a lot of “friends” over the course of my life, but they never really seem to stick around.

Lets start with when we are young, say grade school age. How many friends do you have that stuck around since you were between thirteen and seventeen? Me, I don’t have any. I had at least 25 “friends” from my school days, two of which I considered brothers I never had. Those two were the toughest to lose. How about between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five? Most of us just started working or went to college during these years. I have one friend that stayed in my life since then. One other who stayed “friends” for some twenty years,  just decided one day he had enough and never called again. How can someone just walk away after so many years and not even wonder  how the other person is doing,  and just call .

After twenty-five it gets hard to meet new friends. Oh yeah we meet alot of guys from work or our kids father’s, or our wives friend’s husbands but they rarely amount to much. “True”, and I’ll say it again, “true” friends are extremely hard to find and even harder to keep.

What is it with guys and friendships? It doesn’t seem to work for us as much as it does with women.It seems to me that women go out of their way to hold on to friends , whereas men always seem to have a reason why they can’t just “get together “anymore. And not even that it’s  hard to get together but they can’t seem to tell you to your face that they have something else they would rather do. It’s always “I’ll let you know tomorrow ” but tomorrow never comes. I hear those words now and I start making other plans.

Probably the worst case of a bad friend is when he meets a girl. He no longer can say yes or no to any plans you might have because he’s scared to say yes without knowing how his girl will react. Or maybe he’s just afraid to do things without her because he feels she will do things with out him too. That’s the “insecure friend”. Say goodbye to him until she leaves him for someone else. Why do men suddenly turn into wimps when they meet a girl? Do women really have this strange mystical power over us? I do not buy into it and here’s why. The same guy who used to hang out with you meets this wonderful young lady and so starts his disappearing act. At first you guys still hang out most of the time, and then as double dates. Then you start noticing he always has something to do. His life just got so filled up he can’t find the time to hang out and watch a game. So after years of this you give up and look in another direction. But  just as you give up here comes Joe friend again. Now he’s married and he has a couple of kids that are older and he can’t stand being in the house anymore . His wife’s a nag and his kids don’t even pay attention to him unless they need something, like money. So now he’s calling you all the time and trying to hang out. So you see, women don’t have pixie dust, it’s men who somehow can’t give a shit about friendships unless it is convenient or self serving.

I do however notice a very strange thing about men and friendships. Men can go for ten years without seeing you, then meet up with you some day and talk like it was yesterday that you last hung out. They will go on and on about how it used to be and  how great those days were, and then comes the killer ending. ” We have to get together some time”  or “its been too long and we can’t let this happen again”. You know right there…it’s the kiss of death. You aren’t going to see this bum for another ten years.

What does it really take to have a friendship?  I have a very simple idea of what makes a good friend. Just call me. That’s it, plain and simple. Just call me every month or so and say hello. Not much huh? You know what happens when friends call each other? Things happen! Thats right, things happen. Just by chance something you talk about will lead to a get together or a lending of the hand to help move a piece of furniture. That’s all it really takes to keep a friendship alive. Think about all the friends you had in your life and how many of them would still be a part of it , if only they called you. I think about it all the time and it is the saddest part of my life. Losing my friends is the saddest part of my life.

I always believed that true friends were hard to find and that I would do my best to preserve a friendship. But I also learned that just one persons attempts will not keep a friendship intact. At some point you will concede and the friendship will end, because you were the only one in it.

I am happy to say that not all friendships end a ghastly death. I do have a few close ones that  weathered the storm over the years and came out intact. Funny as it may be, my closest friends all live either an hour or hundreds of miles away. We have worked at staying friends no matter how distant we are from each other. We don’t see each other much but we do phone each other  all the time. And that is, as I said earlier, the key to a lasting and true friendship. Hard to believe that with all the cell phones we have today some of us still can’t find the time to just pick up the phone and say “hello my friend, hello….”

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