Are you still close to your childhood best friend?

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships lately. The older I get, the more difficult it seems it is to make close friends, and yet the more precious my close friends are to me. For the first 5 years of my life growing up in New York I lived next door to Mardi (us above) and then we both moved and lived 40 minutes away from each other. We’ve never lived in close proximity again and yet, 32 years later, she is still one of my very best friends…

I read an article the other day that suggested strong childhood friends could be the secret to long term happiness as an adult. It’s interesting to think about. We always hear a lot about the negative situations in your childhood being the basis for all kinds of emotional problems as an adult, but I love thinking about how the connections and bonds in your childhood can impact you in a really positive way through adulthood. And yet, it turns out only 1 in 4 of us are still in touch with our childhood best friend.

Are you still friends with your childhood best friend? The one you had your very first sleepover with and coordinated Halloween costumes with every year through grade school? I’ve lost touch with most of my childhood friends, unless you count being friends on Facebook which I don’t really, but Mardi is still one of my best friends.

The Huffington Post talks about how special childhood friendships are that last into adulthood. I especially liked how it talked about learning to trust and using that as a template for every other friendship afterwards. I really want my children to have friends that last into adulthood, that’s rooted in longevity and yet are completely voluntary (unlike family relationships).

Here were a few things that helped Mardi and my friendship survive through the years:

1. Getting along really well (as kids and then adults). We’re both really silly (still are!) and imaginative and are very much kindred spirits. Obviously this connection is a really important piece.

2. A tradition of getting together. After we moved away from each other when we were 5 years old, every Christmas Eve our families would still get together. It may seem like a small thing, but it made such a difference to have a regularly occurring tradition with her family. Now, our families live too far apart to get together for Christmas Eve, but Mardi and I have started a new tradition of an annual girl backpacking trips.

3. Making the friendship a priority. Mardi’s really good at this long term friendship thing. She’s great at keeping in touch and has an incredible memory of people and events in my life (she’s like my extra memory bank). We lost touch for a little in high school when we got wrapped up with our own busy lives, but in college we reconnected again and went on an epic road trip through the Southwest.

Mardi’s really good at making friendship a real priority, which is so inspiring to me.

4. Things in common beyond being childhood friends.  I think this is probably the most important thing. I have a lot of childhood friends that I’ve grown apart from because of interests, lifestyle, marriage, beliefs, etc. The only thing we have in common now is just our fond memories of being close as children. With Mardi though, we’ve both realized we have a lot in common as adults.

We both love the outdoors, love to travel, are still spontaneous and fun loving, and have similar taste in music as well. We’ve watched a sunset in The Grand Canyon, a sunrise in Bryce Canyon, hiked and camped in Yosemite together, cross country skied in Vermont, kayaked through the Allagash River in Maine , climbed the mountains of Alaska. We’ve gone to concerts all over the place together too. I’ve become friends with her friends, and she with mine. Our lives continue to evolve together.

5. Staying close to the family. Mardi’s very close to my siblings and parents as well. She’s gone camping with sisters, visits my siblings to meet their new babies and always sees my parents when they’re in town. She comes out for Thanksgiving, major concerts, and every family wedding (my sisters and I with Mardi at my brother’s wedding above). My own children know and love her. She really is part of our family and understands our family dynamic, which only makes us closer.

I feel lucky to still be so close to my childhood best friend. Are you still close to your childhood friends, or maybe even your childhood best friend too?

Comments

I loved this post, it is so touching. I have many friends from my childhood who I still consider good friends today. I love that childhood friends know what you are all about, how you grew up, what were you like as a teenager. There are so many things you don’t have to explain. I have a group of 9 girlfriends from my hometown that are connected daily on a WhatsApp group (named after a town joke) – we send each other kids pics, funny stuff or just ask for advice. It’s so much fun and comfort to have them in my life.

This is such a heartwarming post and I especially love seeing the vintage photos! Like you, I’m still best friends with my childhood friend from 2nd grade. He was one of the ‘bridesmen’ at my wedding. It also helped that he’s close to my family and I’m close to his family. For example, when I was away at camp in college, I called home and my sister said, “Conrado’s here hanging out with us.”

I am so happy I got to read this post! What an awesome celebration of a lifelong friendship. I met one of my very best friends when my family moved onto her street when I was three years old. We didn’t become close until we were in high school, but we have maintained our friendship through thick and thin. We live a couple hours away from each other and only get to see each other every once and a while. Nevertheless, whenever we talk on the phone or get together it is like no time has passed at all. It is wonderful to see good, solid relationships thrive. What a great gift you and Mardi have!!
p.s. My sister-in-law is named Mardi!

I am still friends with my very first childhood BFF. We lived across the street from each other from the day we were born until we left for college. We were not close after fifth grade, but as adults came back together. We see each other about once a year as we live a few hours apart, but I know if I needed her she would be there in a heartbeat an vice versa. Two months ago I threw my parents a surprise 50th anniversary party, I messaged her on FB in a panic at a loss for what to do to decorate the tables and she shopped her stash and even went out shopping to help me create a fantastic and budget friendly table scape. At the last minute she offered to do chalkboard menus/directions around the party. She is generous and talented. Last month my mom was diagnosed with cancer, she called me as soon as she heard the news and asked what we needed. She even offered to bring mom a slurpee (growing up if we were home sick with a fever mom would bring any sick kid in the neighborhood a slurpee). Friends you have known your whole life, who know your family become a part of it. We can roll out eyes at our parents hoarding tendencies and commiserate about their bizzare behavior and in the next moment we sigh and say one day we will miss that. When you find people who get you and who show up, do whatever you can to keep them.

I LOVE this post Lisa! Thank you for reminding it… I am going to call tomorrow a friend from Kindergarten also my roommate in college (a boy). I have moved two countries and it’s difficult to keep in touch with those that are not good with communication or social media. So, I became very close to those who can text me right away, even more, closer than before. My best friends are around the world and the one knows even the name of Lino’s pediatrician is in London. I keep communication with some from kindergarten, high school but the closest is from college.

I love this beautiful tribute to friendship. So sweet. To this day, one of my (our) very best friends is a tall, funny and beautiful girl we met the very first day of 7th grade. We have lived thousands of miles apart, then luckily close to each other in SF and now again miles and miles apart. But when you are lucky enough to find friends that are more like sisters – it doesn’t matter how far away you are. xoxoxo

Thats so fun that you guys are still super close! I feel like I’m close to my friends from high school still for the most part, but I moved around a lot when I was younger, so most friends from elementary school I haven’t heard from in 20 years.

Paige
http://thehappyflammily.com

As my childhood best friend and I grew apart in the college years, I grew closer to another casual friend I met in middle school who I shared more in common with. We’ve had ups and downs and breaks/misunderstandings but we always pick up where we left off. Now our kids are growing up together and it warms my heart to know that our friendship has grown and thrived for 20 years.

Sounds like Mardi is just as lucky to have you as her friend :] Great post.

what a great friend, this is such a lovely thing to read, especially amidst the distressing and soul crushing news as of late. Thanks for the inspiration ladies!

Comments are closed.