In the 15th episode of How I Met Your Mother, the gang is finally getting to hang out with Ted’s new girlfriend Victoria. They get embroiled in a game night and Lily mentions that she was given a video tape from a woman named Shannon, who Barney knew from his past. They watch the video and see Barney, the suited up womanizer who they know as a different man, a long haired hippy singing a breakup song in an attempt to get his girlfriend back. This leads the group to sharing their most embarrassing stories in an effort to get Barney to reveal his past to them.
I love this episode.
It’s one that hits home with me, because every time I watch it I’m reminded of the power of friendship. I’m reminded that we all have these dark pasts. Skeletons that lurk in our closets and things we don’t want to bring up. I’ve been there myself, I’m actually still there. There is plenty that I want to keep secret because I fear that it will change how my friends view me.
I kept it bottled up for a long time, whatever these things are for you, I can tell you one thing…
If your friends love you, then you can trust them with it.
I am blessed to have the circle of friends that I have. Over the years, we have gone from three people huddled around a group of televisions in my bedroom, to five people taking up a booth at Burger King, to seven people all gathered in a house together, partying and smiling and laughing with one another. Then, when I thought that we couldn’t grow any larger, three more came out of the woodwork and joined our merry band. Then, as each day passed, we grew larger and larger. Now, I couldn’t dream of having all 13 or something people crammed into one room playing games, we simply wouldn’t fit. We are too great in number.
Over those years, I’ve shared in hardship with almost all of them. In one way or another, they all know my secrets and my troubles. Some of them I haven’t even had to tell. They just picked it up because of how I reacted, or words I said, or the way I looked at them. They just knew.
I’ve grown to have this wonderful group of friends, and it seems that we don’t want to stop adding new people into our little band. It has come with so many ups and downs. There is a lot of trial and error when you are dealing with that many people. We can’t all always be free to do whatever. We work, or have girlfriends to support, we have things going on and sometimes it gets hard to see one another, but still… I know that deep down, those guys love me and I hope they know that I love them as well.
Since I was a tike, people have been telling me that I wouldn’t keep the friends I made in grade school. They told me as I grew, that the friends I made in high school were fleeting, eventually we would move on to college or careers and we would fall out of each others lives. Then, after I graduated with these guys, I still heard that they wouldn’t be my friends eventually. Only, this time, no one could give me a reason. There was no big ending that would try to separate us. School was over with, we were moving on with our lives then. We still are.
The other night I was out to dinner with one of my friends and we were talking about how we are progressing in life. A handful of us are in dedicated relationships, we all have jobs, we’ve mostly all moved out of home and are taking the full bridle of adulthood. I’m writing books and working on building my business, all of these great things are happening to us and it fills my heart with a kind of joy that I haven’t felt before.
Everything is changing, that’s true. There is no denying that, but these people that I am so lucky to call my friends are still here. Even after I drifted away for a while, thinking that I needed to grow apart, getting tangled up in things I shouldn’t have, losing my way for a while…
Still, when I returned home all of them were waiting with open arms.
It’s funny, that now, however many years after high school my mom likes to tell me how great my group of friends is. How lucky I am to have them. Don’t worry mom, I know. There is no group like this anywhere else in the world. I am so blessed to call them friends, to consider them family to me.
I think that is what people didn’t understand when I was younger.
See, I grew up as an only child. To me, those guys are my brothers. I would do anything for them. I want to live a good life, I want to make them proud of me. These men know more about me than I possibly even know about myself and each one of them enriches my life to an incredible degree.
I find myself writing about this, because this episode of HIMYM is about friendship, I think. More so than anything, it is about having a group of people that you can open up to. People that you can expose your most fragile parts to and trust that they won’t try to snap them off. People that at the end of the day… regardless of the situation, can love you.
People that you can love in return.
It’s no secret that this is such a good feeling to have.