Who is a friend?

This short piece appeared in Ramblings magazine, published by the Roadrunner region of the Porsche Club of America:

This isn’t really a story about Porsches, it’s a story about friendship. Owning a Porsche has brought me many new friends. Everyone has friends, some better than others, and some closer than others. Some friends we love, some we respect, some we admire, and some we might even envy.

I have a “formula” that describes friendship. That might sound weird, because most people probably don’t think that hard about their friends, they just accept them, without question. But I’ve had many friends in my 59 years, and they’ve come and they’ve gone. Some I remember, and some I miss. There’s too many to count, and most aren’t in my life any more. I am blessed with a very wonderful group of friends at the moment thanks to my interest in cars, and my membership of the local Porsche Club of America. Which is why I’m writing this.

Here’s my friendship formula. Friendship is one part the past, one part the present, and one part the future.

Regarding the past, I like to talk with friends about the things I’ve done with them. The “Remember when we…”, or “…and what about that time you…” Memories made with friends provide the foundation of a friendship on which it continues to be built and give it momentum to continue.

The time spent with friends right here and now is the experience of friendship. It’s real, and happening, and should be enjoyed for its immediate value. As humans stuck living life linearly, as each next minute becomes the last minute, the only thing we can really be sure of is the present. And if I have a choice about who I have to spend it with, I’d rather it be with friends. Making good use of the time you spend with friends ensures you are reinforcing the foundations of your friendships. You have to be present and engaged with your friends to enjoy them the most.

The third part of friendship is the prospect of future shared moments. We must look to the future because that’s where our next minute, day, and year, lives. We all have hopes and wishes. It’s natural to look forward to spending time with friends. A great friendship is one that leaves you a little sad each time you part, and wanting to spend more time with that person, or those people. Friendship is about anticipation, as much what’s happening now, or what happened before.

All these elements of friendship were on display on a recent Club drive out. While much pleasure came from driving our wonderful Porsche cars on back country roads, when people got out of their cars for lunch, or a pit stop to refuel, the conversation was a mix of recollection and shared experience. Conversations ranged from comparisons of car handling to complaints about rocks in the road and cows on the shoulders. At the end of the Tour, as we headed on our last leg home, everyone looked forward to the next Tour, and the next experience, and the next memory.