We all need them. They help us get through this strange and silly game called life. They give us company. They help us when we’re down; they cheer for us when we’re flying high. They tell us when we’re good; they’ll tell us when we’re bad. They’re simply called our friends. Some have many friends, some have only a few friends. The great thing about friends is that even when you think you’re completely alone, they come out of nowhere, just at the right time.
Back when I graduated college and went to work at an advertising agency, I thought I had found the best friends in the world. I was largely an introverted kid so finding a group of friends who hung out with me at the after work socials and took me out every Friday night was like a new toy; I liked it, and didn’t want to give it up. As my popularity at the agency began to take off, everyone just loved me. I was an easy target for anyone who needed a drinking buddy. The Friday afternoons sitting in my office uncorking a bottle of wine we’d received from one of the TV or radio stations became a weekly thing; followed by more drinking at the pub crawls we did once it was quitting time, the world was spinning out of control and quite frankly it was fun. I had these great friends who enjoyed going everywhere with me. My poor parents had put up with more than their fair share of seeing their son become a drunken slob. One Saturday morning, as I sat at the kitchen table trying to get over the Friday night hangover, my dad, in a last attempt to snap me out of it, sat down next to me, looked me straight in the eyes and said, “you show me who your friends are, and I’ll show you who you are.” My chest hurt as those word became branded forever on my soul since I knew if I did show my dad who my friends were, he’d tell me what I really was…and I knew I wouldn’t like it. A few weeks later, I would experience the full impact of those words when the bottom dropped out, and reality paid me a visit, I got the “golden handshake.” Then those friends suddenly vanished. No one wanted to be around the guy who just got busted for being too much of the party animal. I stopped by the old bars I hung out at with my friends, they wanted nothing to do with me, I had officially become the Invisible Man. Suddenly though, two friends appeared out of nowhere who not only did things with me, but helped me as I went through the brutal withdrawal of drugs and alcohol, and believe me, it was brutal. It was my parents. They never complained. They never gave up. They never turned their backs on me. Heck, they even encouraged me to buy a car…while I was unemployed. “You can do it!” they said. “You can get through this!” they said. It took a year for the recovery to complete; but during the ordeal, I realized who my true friends were, and who the fake were as well.
Fast forward to today. If my dad came to me and said “show me who your friends are”, I’d have absolutely no problem showing him. It was funny, just this past July when I called him on his birthday, he said “The people who gave me the nicest wishes were all your Facebook friends. They’re a nice bunch!” I’ve just experienced a life changing situation that showed me how incredibly lucky to have the friends that I do. Friends who found out simply asked, “How can I help?” and that’s the nice thing about it; my new place is furnished and decorated with things that came from friends. Real friends. The kind of friends a guy can be real thankful he has. And I’m thankful for every last one of you!