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Padlocks on bridges symbolize enduring friendship and an unbreakable bond among lovers. Here they are on the Markasteg, a footbridge in the city of Salzburg.
That's what Friends are for...
"Let's stay in touch, let's stay friends..." Haven't you heard that too often as well as a form of paying lip service to one another, while not really finding the energy to make that hastily made promise true? Do we care enough for each other to make time for each other? Sometimes we lose each other, while living in the same area still. Sometimes we live on different continents and it seems a matter of time, how long we can fight that "out of sight, out of mind"-reflex. Sometimes we forget our friends over work and family. And then one day we are surprised that they are gone.
Old pictures occasionally reveal how much younger and more handsome we may have been. Maybe.
A Great Gift Indeed. Friendship is such a great gift. Sticking together, having first friends around to play with as a kid, to hang out with as a teenager in afternoons and evenings. As an adult to share milestones in life with, invite them to the wedding as witnesses of the great promise, a baptism celebrating the birth as one of the biggest miracle in life. And who later may attend your funeral, share the sad moments and memories of you with those left behind. Maybe have the one or other good laugh in reminiscence. Often friends find each other through parallels, similar interests or by simply connecting easily with each other. To make friends is one thing, keeping them another.
As life goes on, people drift into different directions, especially time constraints and different priorities on family and work may lead to a drastic reduction of the circle of friends, if it ever had been big. To have a best friend though is payless. It is outstanding to have someone, with whom you can talk about everything, including your own weakness, inner conflict and embarrassment, knowing that the most personal information will never be used against you. To have someone to just pour your heart out may be rewarding and healing at the same time. Whom you can count on for help when in need, just as you would do it the other way round. Someone you consider a rare, true friend.
A Matter of Choice. "You can choose your friends but you don’t get to choose your relatives," as the saying goes. So better cherish those well selected over the times, those colleagues, comrades, buddies, friends that stuck. However, in the end it is not so much important what you call people but how you treat them and support, when they are not so good. One day I watched the movie "Things we lost in the fire," alone in a foreign country. About a family getting contact with the best friend of the late husband, an addict. It reminded me of reestablishing contact to a friend in need. And if it is only for a conversation at candlelight over a glass of tab water.

The circle of friends is tighter in Europe than for instance in the United States. As they say, for people who are used to European reservation or a formal ritualized courtship of Asia, making new friends in the States may be a breeze. Then again, below surface friendliness also Americans admit relatively few contacts to their inner circle of deep friendship. Moving around a lot, may be one of the factors that prevent close friendships from keeping. "Out of sight, out of mind" is something you have to fight constantly to prevent it from happening. For if you really want to, you can keep the closest friend, no matter what the distance is. Or as the French music group Era had put it: "Don't you forget about me..."
Reunion for a belated birthday celebration, delayed by activities around a move.
Woods of Eternity: Some friends remain unforgotten...
Then again, in life there is a number of Firsts!
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