More than 30 years ago, when I took my first job in New York City,
I found myself working with a number of young women.
Some I got to know just in passing, but others gradually became my friends.
Today, six of these women remain an important part of my life.
They are more than simply friends, more even than close friends.
They are old friends, as indispensable as sunshine and more dear to me than ever.
These people share a long-standing history with me.
In fact, old friends are a lot like promises.
They put reliability into the uncertainty of life
and establish a reassuring link between the past, present,and future.
The attachment between friends who have known each other for many years is bound to be complex.
On occasion we are exceedingly close, and at other times one or both of us invariably step back.
Ebb and flow. Thick and thin.
How smoothly and gently we negotiate these hills and valleys
has everything to do with how well the friendship ages.
Sometimes events intervene in a way that requires us to rework the term of a relationship.
A friend starts a second career, let’s say, and suddenly has less free time.
Another remarries,adding someone new to the equation.
Talk honestly and listen to each other to find out if the other’s needs are being met.
Renegotiating pays full tribute to life’s inevitable changes
and says that we deem our friendships worthy of preserving.
Old friends are familiar with the layers of our lives.
They have been there in the gloom and the glory.
Even so, there’s always room to know more about another person.
Of course, self-disclosure can make even old friends more vulnerable, so go slowly:
Confiding can open new doors, but only if we knock first.
Time is the prime commodity between old friends
—by this I mean the time spent doing things together.
Whether it’s face to face over a cup of coffee,
side by side while jogging, ear to ear over the phone, or via email and letters,
don’t let too much time go by without sharing your thoughts with each other.