Some people are good at sports, some people are good at school, some people are good at drinking, some people are good at singing, and while I’m ok at all of the above I’m best at being a friend. I always have been and consider it one of my best strengths. As a friend you become a part of memories, traditions, photographs and what are sure to be legendary stories that pass on generation to generation. I think to be trusted with that opportunity is an honor and look to my friendships as the root of my happiness and growth. There’s an old adage that says friends are a mirror of ourselves and let me tell you, I’m looking pretty good these days.
A few weeks ago I was out on the boat for my friend Jen’s 50th birthday. It was a Wednesday (#bestlifeever) and to sum it up three things happened that afternoon: The future FSU student learned how to open (properly) and shotgun a beer; I got a crisp ass sunburn on my back from neglecting to apply sunscreen properly; and I gave the best piece of advice I’ve ever given-All you need is one good girlfriend.
I honestly cannot imagine my life without my girls. People say that you make your best friends in college and while that was true for me, I did make a best friend in college, I also was lucky enough to stay best friends with my girls from high school and grade school, some back to elementary!
Let’s start from the beginning. My first best friends were my sisters, Katie and Ashlee. That’s the thing about sisters, you don’t even realize it but the moment they are born you get an instant best friend. A partner in crime. Someone to look up to or someone and someone to set a good example for.
I was lucky enough to grow up in Centreville, a small rural town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. I’m talking, 5 stop lights and we didn’t have a McDonald’s until I was a senior in high school small town. In fact, I’m pretty sure that the entire town of Centreville ordered Domino’s for a solid 3 months straight just because they were the first gig in town to offer delivery. As fate would have it from that small town I got a fabulous group of life long friends. I would say that I only get to see them on holidays and weddings but nowadays I feel like that’s every other month. And I still talk or text with my best friend from high school everyday. If not I usually send her a sarcastic text which is sure to prompt a snotty response from her, as well as an explanation on why she was MIA and confirmation she hadn’t been kidnapped.
My luck in friendships continued when I went to Florida State. I lived in Smith Hall (on an all girls floor obviously) and had someone randomly assigned as my roommate. When I got my roommate assignment in the mail I called her right away, naturally she was at the beach. I left a message with her dad who told her that I was black because my name was Krystal Thomas; google it, you’ll be surprised. Needless to say we both had a surprise when we met face to face, this was pre-Facebook so there was no internet stalking option, gasp! What came out of that random room assignment was two blondes with the same initials and an instant friendship. We ended up living together all four years and she was definitely the reason I made it through college. Well, she and pot.
After graduation I moved to Key West and was lucky enough to pick up a few more amazing girls. It’s quite a mix, some are Conchs, born and raised in Key West and others are transplants like myself. The transplant girls all moved to Key West for the same reason I did; they love the island, lifestyle, and sunshine as much as I do. These girls are my home away from home and I am a part of their island family.
One of the things I know for sure is that it is ok to be picky and polite at the same time, especially when it comes to friends. We all have those people in our lives that are the fun-suckers. Kind of like the dementors in Harry Potter, just sucking the fun right out of everything and feeding off of creating mountains out of molehills. Here’s a tip for the dementors: Give them The Heisman (not the trophy, a straight-arm) and keep on truckin’.
Surround yourself with people that inspire you and make you a better person. Have friends that can make you laugh out loud. Create memories that make people smile as they take your picture. Stay connected and make people responsible for the energy that they bring into your life. Nurture your friendships and relationships. And most importantly, when people show you who they are, believe them.
Recently I wrote in my journal “When we were all in Fort Lauderdale [see picture above, Tortuga Festival 2014 for my 30th birthday] I was looking around and the thought that came to my mind as I was taking it all in was “I must be doing something right.” Really, days and weekends like that make me appreciate the life I’ve created so much more.”