As any outdoorsman (or outdoorswoman) can attest, the camaraderie of enjoying the outdoors with good friends only enhances the pleasures derived from the experiences. Yes, catching a trophy fish or watching the sunrise over a frozen corn field is a great experience in and of itself. However, when those same things are done with close friends they are exponentially better.
Now, I’m not saying that enjoying solitude in the great outdoors from time to time is an unpleasant experience; quite the opposite in fact. Those moments where you can reflect on life in private are invaluable. However, this post is about friendship so I’m going to focus on that today.
I’ve always been of the mindset that a person doesn’t need an extreme number of friendships in life. The thing that I find to be much more important is the quality of the friendships that you do maintain. Personally, I would say that I have about 5 friends that I consider to be close relationships and 1 person who I consider to be my best friend. Now, every person has their own definition of what a best friend is. To me, it is the friend that you would do anything for, can tell anything to without being judged, and the friend whose company is always enjoyed to its fullest. Funnily enough, that friend for me, the person I am closest to, (i.e. my best friend) is the one who lives the furthest away from me.
When I first met my best friend, we were about 520 miles driving distance apart. How the heck did we meet you might ask. No, it wasn’t in some strange chat room or something like that. No, it was actually an online college class that brought us together. Now, I have taken a ton of online college courses before and would be hard-pressed to name you even one other person from any of those classes. The only one is another one of the 5 close friends I mentioned above who I happened to also meet in the same class as my best friend. Anyways, for me, I always just did my work in online classes with any interaction limited to class discussions. However, for some reason, I felt a push to get to know this one person better.
There was a class project that gave students the option to work with a partner. I would usually have just done it myself and had that be the end of it. However, in this case, I emailed my now best friend and asked her to work on this project with me. That is totally out of character for me, but there was just something about the little information I did have about her that told me I had to get to know this person better.
To make an extremely long story short, we spent the rest of the summer (it was a summer class) chatting online just about every night, usually for several hours. We just immediately hit it off. I don’t think we even talked about the project for the entire first week! So our friendship grew faster than anything I had ever experienced before and we became best friends.
Having been best friends with her for somewhere around nine months now, I can honestly say that I have learned more about what true friendship really means in that time than in the rest of my 23 years combined. The paths that led both of us to take the same online class from two different states is tough to fathom, but I do believe that we were meant to meet and have the special friendship that we do.
Having a few close friends instead of many distant ones is just the much better choice in my opinion. That way you can put the effort into the friendship that it takes for that friendship to last and be fulfilling for both people.
When you then spend time doing outdoor activities with those close friends, the amount of fun had by all only increases. There is a certain amount of giving each other a hard time about missing a shot or losing a big fish, but that is all part of that outdoors camaraderie that I mentioned before. So in the end, here is my advice. Work hard to maintain some close friendships and get out into the woods or to the lake with those friends. One day, you’ll be thankful that you did.