It was my dear friend Aaron’s birthday and he had no idea what surprise was in store for him: My family and I were going to drive 12 hours and show up at his house unannounced (don’t worry, we planned it with his wife, Laura). The visit was a long time coming. Aaron and I hadn’t seen each other in person for three years. The long distance, expense and our growing families made it hard to do more than talk on the phone.
A few years ago, I moved to a window office at work and sent an email around letting everyone know I had relocated. In the email, I jokingly invited everyone to come by for a “tour” of the new space and apologized that I didn’t have any hors d’oeuvres for my guests. Well, I didn’t have hors d’oeuvres yet.
Several years ago, I made friends with a guy who volunteered at the same organization as me. He seemed like he wanted to be good friends, but he didn’t act like much of one. Sometimes he passive aggressively insulted me; other times he flattered me. He could be aloof, and then he could be clingy. But I stuck around because we had known each other for a while, and I felt like I owed it to him.
It was Christmas Day of 2002 and I boarded a flight to Milwaukee with a ham as a carry-on. The ham was a gift from my mom to my ham-loving brother. The ham was in a box, which I put in the overhead compartment next to my bag, and then waited to take off. Unfortunately, though, we sat on the tarmac for 45 minutes, raising the risk of me missing my connecting flight in Detroit.
Last autumn, my brother Caleb and I knew our father didn’t have much time left. He had been in the hospital intensive care unit three times in one year and although his mind was clear, his heart was failing. But he refused to admit it – and that presented a minor problem.
When you witness another couple give each other an extended, passionate kiss, you don’t forget it — especially if they’re a married couple. I certainly haven’t forgotten one particular time I got an eyeful on a sweltering afternoon in Mississippi.
A few years ago, I had a coworker who was particularly unfriendly from the start. She barely even acknowledged me when I’d see her and say hello. Then one day, it changed.
A few years ago, I had this new coworker who came off as weird — really weird, and within a couple of weeks of his arrival, a lot of people in the office were making comments about him behind his back.
There I was, sitting in a circle of a dozen Christian men who had come together for the express purpose of being vulnerable with each other. It felt awkward.
I was about to start my freshman year of college, and I was afraid I wouldn’t have any friends at school. While there were plenty of people my age at the local charismatic church I was attending, I wasn’t sure I wanted to hang out with them. They struck me as being a bit on the wild side (spiritually), especially this guy named Gerald. He worshiped God like he was drunk on the Holy Spirit, and if you struck up a conversation with him, he always found a way to bring it back to Jesus. It made me uncomfortable, but…
According to recent research, people without friends die sooner than those with friends.
My first lunch with my friend Tim did not go well. He was a new guy at church and we worked in the same area of the city, so I figured it would be a chance to make a new lunch buddy. About ten minutes into the meal, I changed my mind.
I didn’t have many friends in middle school, but I had Jeffrey Mitchell, and I needed him. Some of the popular boys had started making fun of me, so I was growing increasingly uncomfortable in my own skin. Jeffrey didn’t seem to care. We spent time at each other’s houses, hung around each other during recess, and sat next to each other when we had the same classes. This included Mrs. Silkman’s seventh grade English class where unfortunately, our friendship came to an abrupt end one day.
There are very few sports events I’ve ever cared about, and when there’s an exception, it’s a big deal. The last time it happened to me was in 2001.
Several years ago I knew this guy who wanted to be good friends, but he didn’t act like much of one.