I have a handful of friends I could go months, or even years, not talking
to by phone. And yet, I can give them a call and start a conversation as soon as they answer, just as though we had talked the day before.
I have always lamented the fact many of my closest confidants didn’t
live nearby, that we no longer ran in the same social circles, that we never
bump into each other at the dry cleaners or shoe repair.
Until yesterday. That’s when I caught up with a long time, very close
friend, Rebecca, who now lives 1,000 miles from me. And she provided me
with some good advice.
“When you have good friends in the city in which you reside, often
times you can’t be completely honest with them about things going on
in your life,” she confided.
I pondered this for a moment. “I think I get it,” I replied hesitantly.
“For example,” I surmised, “let’s say you suspect your husband may
have a drinking problem after studying him carefully over the Fourth of
July weekend, and you confide this to your in-town best friend, who
also happens to use your husband as her accountant. This fact may be
too dicey to share. Is that what you mean?”
“Exactly,” she countered. “And here’s a couple more: Your daughter
barely graduated from college and you confided in a friend how difficult
things are for her. And now your daughter is applying for a job and
asking for a reference from that same best friend“.
“Your son got pulled over for a DUI last year. You called your best
friend in hysterics. Now this same son is going to be a camp counselor
for their third-grade grandson.” Rebecca tells me she can often be
more honest and straightforward with a friend who lives out of town – one
whose path won’t cross with her professionally or socially.
This mindset can actually work quite well. As a matter of natural
course, some of our most trusted friends may not be the ones who end
up living closest to us after all.
Rebecca calls her go-to buddy a BIFA – Best Intimate Friend Afar.
I think she’s got a point.
Iris Ruth Pastor is a slice-of-life author, blogger and motivational speaker.
Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org