Having friends can be nice. They can also become a liability. As you may or may not know already, most of the people that I know fall into the latter category. But this week, to make up for my usual blend of depressing content, I’ll share an experience that actually worked out. Hugs and kisses.

From the very beginning, circumstances made this friendship extremely unlikely to last. I ran into this particular group during the summer of my final year at the university. Immediately after that summer, I left to study abroad for a semester. Which left us with a grand total of one semester and one half of a summer before I graduated; after which I promptly moved across the country (notice a trend?). Oh yeah, I graduated a year after them, so for the entire time we’ve known each other, they’ve been operating on a non-university schedule, which made it harder for us to find time to visit. Also, I’m notoriously bad at keeping in touch with people, since I dislike phones and pretty much all forms of nonverbal communication. We’re still close friends today.

Some of you may be wondering just how in the world this managed to happen. Sometimes I wonder too. We always meshed extremely well. The mandatory period of the awkwardness, that seems to show up whenever you meet someone new, never happened with us. Maybe it was because we shared a number of similar interests. Maybe all of us were in the market for new friends (I had limited myself to a few acquaintances for the previous year; most of the people they had known had moved away after graduation). Or maybe it was because we drank each under the table on most occasions. On that note, I suppose I shouldn’t really endorse the destruction of brain cells as a sound method of making friends, but I will say that most people get talkative with alcohol and that can help when you’re trying to get to know people; in my experience it can be either a very good or very bad thing. Regardless of the reasons, we became very close in a very short space of time.

We’ve already been separated twice, half a year at a time, for as long as we’ve known each other. Both times, I expected to find pieces of our friendship and a fruitless struggle to fit everything back together. And both times, I was surprised to find that the process was minimal. Circumstances had changed, of course. All of us were living in new locations. Old dramas had been buried and replaced with new ones. We were older and more jaded. But little had changed between all of us.

As I’ve been writing this, I’ve realized just how impossible this seems. It’s hard to dredge some general advice out of this, but here we go anyway. First of all, never be afraid to do something extra for your friends. If they’re worth being friends with, they’ll appreciate it and go the extra mile for you too. Secondly, open up to people. Part of the reason we got along so well was because we told each other our life stories. And lastly, find a mixed drink that everyone likes.

Photo courtesy of Tyler Blakley.