We have many people connections and they all add meaning to our lives. We seldom make a list and categorize them. But by the way we interact with them, we unknowingly identify them as casual, business, high maintenance, refreshing, or essential friends. And there are degrees of friendship between these as well. If we bump into one of these, we might ask if he/she has time for coffee and talk about our favorite sports team, a movie, a sermon at church. But we would not phone them on a Saturday to see how they are doing. Still, it’s pleasant and undemanding to spend time with them. We might enjoy a lunch with an office colleague and chat about things related to our work scene, but it would not occur to us to have them over to our place for dinner. Some individuals never have to be contacted because they always take initiative and when visiting we try to listen politely. The stories are pages long, without paragraphs or periods or even commas. There are other examples of high maintenance “friends” we allow into our lives, sometimes out of pity because they have no other connections. Prayer for endurance is often needed in such cases. Then again, the occasional connection with a buoyant, interesting acquaintance has us concluding we would not mind at all spending more quality time with that individual. But it doesn’t happen and we are puzzled since we feel that there is a mutuality that could develop into a close relationship.
Our whole person gets a lift, though, when we get time with our special friends. There probably are not many of these, perhaps only three or four. With these we feel we can be vulnerable and lay bare our inner thoughts and personal struggles. We would not tell any of the others what the doctor said, disappointments in our marriage, the secret goals we are achieving or failing at. We feel at ease in expressing our joys. We can listen with empathy to such a friend’s own vagaries, and give words of encouragement. Affirmation to such a friend flows readily. There is free give and take, and uninhibited laughter and tears. Of such qualities is a bosom buddy relationship. How can we find and nurture these kinds of connections? Should we try to answer that question? I welcome input.