"You seem a lot happier since we moved to Texas," my 12 year old son told me the other day.
"I do? That's not surprising. I am a lot happier."
"I think it's your friends here," he said. "They make you smile."
He's right. They do. When we moved, I made a conscious decision to find friends who were fun and knew how to laugh.
My Oklahoma friends are all nice women, but too many of them were friends of mine for the sake of convenience. Our children played together. Their children took dance classes, learned Latin, played sports, did boy scouts, etc. with my children. We were on committees together. We worked together. We helped each other in our vocations. They were great working friendships, and that was the problem with them. They revolved around work. Eventually our lives were so enmeshed that neither side could walk away because to disentangle would be so disruptive to all of our lives. When you begin choosing words carefully and tiptoeing around each other in order to maintain the status quo, can you call that friendship?
It wasn't until I moved away from it all that I realized how exhausting it all had been. I decided that this time I would do better. This time I'm only keeping and seeking out useless friends. The reality I have learned is that if people have a use and a purpose, you're not really their friend.
I have and maintain lots of acquaintances these days. There are the people I meet on committees and the parents of my children's friends. I like them all and we are friendly. We chat and hang out, laugh and enjoy each other's company. We trade favors and recipes but we are not truly close.
Then there are the few I love, a few from there and a few from here. The ones with whom I share my authentic self. The ones who bring nothing more than joy, peace, and comfort to my life. The ones without a purpose. They are the ones I keep for fun, the ones who make me truly happy just because I know them. They are my wonderful, beloved and truly useless friends.
I hope they find me useless, too.
h/t to LarryD, the useless friend who planted this seed in my brain. Have you read his 3 1/2 Time Outs? Are you playing along? You should!