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Some Thoughts on Thanksgiving: Part 3

January 17, 2018

Friends

I can count on one hand the number of people that I would consider my closest friends. So it is with particular enthusiasm that I look forward to when I get to spend time with them. This year, our schedules happened to align just right so that one of the couples that my wife and I are closest to were able to spend time with us over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Working out even better than expected, they arrived just as most of our other guests were getting ready to leave and it provided a convenient excuse to usher out the stragglers. Plus there were heaps of leftovers so we didn’t have any great reason to leave the house which in turn left plenty of time for what I can only call “hanging out.”

Usually this entails the women talking about kids and the newest trends in fashion and decor while the other husband and I progressively get drunk and occasionally play video games. There are no pressing concerns, no particular rush to do anything really. The only real obligation is ensuring that their child doesn’t hurt himself and also goes to bed at a semi-reasonable hour. Other than that, plans are fluid.

So how do we spend our time? Mostly we talk, catching up on each other’s lives and recounting stories of the old days. It is this time that I think is the actual highlight of Thanksgiving for me. A time to relax with close friends after preparing for- and then hosting Thanksgiving dinner. While spending time with family can be fun, there is a certain relief when your relatives have gone back to their homes and you can truly just enjoy the time off from work in the company of good friends.

Another friend of mine is often fond of saying “just guys being dudes” when remarking on hanging out and while I generally question his wisdom in most other affairs of life, I do think this phase encapsulates something profound- even if he just invokes the phase when he’s about to say something particularly sexist or offensive.

There is a lot of happiness to be found in being able to talk about literally any topic with someone of the same gender that shares most of your views about the world. Need someone to vent to about your wife’s constant nagging about not cleaning the house enough? Check. Want to complain about your neighbor’s dog shitting in your yard again? Feel like grumbling about your job and how you think you’re being under-valued? Want to discuss the existence of God or maybe just the latest Marvel movie? Check. Check. Check. A good friend can fulfill all those roles and more.

They can also be honest with you and tell you when you’re off-base or getting too fat or generally being less than your best. That is the true value of a good friendship I think.

None of us live in this world in complete isolation. We all have areas where we can do better, be a better husband, wife, brother, sister, daughter, son- or maybe just a better person in general. A good friend helps knock off the rough edges that we all carry throughout life and bolster the good that’s already in you. They’re not afraid to tell you that you’re being unreasonable or completely agree with you that soccer is a totally ridiculous sport.

So “Cheers” to friends and friendship in general… I would pour a beer out but that would be a complete waste. Instead, I’ll drink the beer and think up of a strategy to finally beat said friend in Call of Duty. Now that would be something that I would truly be thankful for.

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