Monday, May 20, 2013

On Having a Friend Visit

Scan of an old University of Chicago
postcard - to me it epitomizes
One of my very best and oldest friends (in the sense that we have been friends for decades) is arriving for an extended visit today, and I am beyond excited! Soon I am rushing off to the airport to pick her up.

As I have been anticipating her visit, straightening out the apartment, helping my husband clear his office which is also our guest room, getting work off my plate, and planning outings and a little side trip, I realized what a great privilege it is to have a friend visit. I mean really travel, in her case across an ocean, just to visit me and my family.

When I saw another friend recently at my former online writers' group conference, he thanked me again for having visited him and his wife two years prior. I was a bit puzzled by this. Wasn't I the one who had to thank him, because they had hosted me, showed me around, spoiled me? Of course, yes, but I am now realizing that it is also a great gift if a friend comes to visit, takes time out of his or her life, just to be with you, to see how you live, and what your life is like. It is a true act of friendship.

On that note, an interesting op-ed on friendship appeared in the Wall Street Journal this past weekend: Aristotle Wouldn't Friend you on Facebook. Basically, the author argues that the friendships of millennials like herself are less personal than those of her parents and grandparents: "Why visit a person, write a letter, deliver a card, or even pick up the phone when we can simply click a 'like' button?" She's bemoaning this, and I have to say I agree. I cringe at the fact that I had to find out about a good friend's mother dying via a cryptic Facebook post, and I consider myself fortunate to still have plenty of friendships that are personal. In which, for instance, a friend comes to visit.


  1. We once visited old friends that we had not seen for many years. When Jim wrapped his arms around me with a Hello Hug, he said something I've never forgotten. His words were "Thank you for the gift of coming to visit us." Enjoy your visit with your old friend, Annette. Savor the moments spent together.

  2. Dear Realfriend! We both have to thank my husband who was so loving and thoughtfull to offer me the flight and the time off as a surprise-present to my fiftieth birthday. And thank you for hugging me so strong when you first saw me at the airport. Great moment, for me a feeling of coming home. Because thats what frienship also means to me. Having a home beyond home.

    1. Barbara - yep, agreed! It's nice to have a haven to land in!

  3. Annette, Your post has reminded me that it's been too long since I've spoken with some true friends. I'll be making some calls tonight. Thanks and enjoy your visit!

    1. Jennifer - wonderful! I hope you got some good catching up done!

  4. One really does have to hold onto the friends you have out there in the world.

    After all, they're the ones who'll help you move.

    A body.

    Couldn't resist!