The Nikster

I want to take a moment and talk about my best friend, Nikki.  Or, as she’s sometimes known, The Nikster.  We met when I worked at a financial company back in Chicago.  I was the admin and she was a financial analyst.  I don’t remember exactly how our friendship started, but I think it had something to do with the fact that she had traveled a lot, and I wanted to.

Up to that point I hadn’t been out of the country, but Nikki had.  She’d been to France, Spain, London and a bunch of other places I don’t remember.  She also knew exactly where to find the best deals for travel.  I don’t think she’s paid more than $900 for an airline ticket too often, even when she traveled to Australia.

So I think our first “friend” encounter was me asking her about one of her trips to Paris; a city I’ve loved since I saw my first Pepe Le Pew cartoon.  After that, I kept asking her for advice on how to vacation out of the US on a small budget, and from there it blossomed into what I consider one of the best friendships I’ve ever had.

At first, I think Nikki wasn’t sure what to make of me.  I’d go into her office and start a conversation off with “Have you ever seen the movie History of the World, Part 1?” or some other non sequitur.  In the beginning, this would cause her to laugh out loud, but after a while she learned to wait the conversation out, knowing I would eventually get to the reason I’d made the odd comment.

If you looked at the surface of our relationship, you’d be hard-pressed to find out why it’s such a great friendship.  We have different economic backgrounds, and many of our personal beliefs–as well as other factors–couldn’t be more dissimilar.  However, we’re often able to talk for hours on end, laughing about the silliest things, and the few times we’ve traveled together have been some of the most fun trips I’ve ever taken.

One of the things that I think makes our friendship so strong is that we accept the other for who she is.  Nikki might shake her head or say “that’s Alyx” and I might do the same about things she says and does, but it’s always done with a smile, and genuine affection.  I knew ours would be a defining relationship in my life when we had our first disagreement.

They say that you never know how strong a friendship is until you’ve had your first fight (I think they say that about any relationship), and I used to be afraid of telling someone that something they’ve done upsets me.  One night, we were supposed to meet somewhere, and Nikki was late (a habit of hers that bothered me at first).  I was so angry about it that I decided to say something.  I worried that our friendship might end, but I was learning to say what I felt, rather than keep it bottled up inside.

When she arrived, I told her how much it bothered me that she had arrived so late, and that she hadn’t even called me to let me know of her tardiness.  I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I’m sure it was said with a lot of force (though no yelling).  Her response was a simple “Okay.”  There was no defensiveness on her part, and no yelling back at me for being upset with her.  Just a simple acceptance of my anger.

I felt something shift in me that night.  A sense that THIS was how relationships should be (not just with friends or lovers, but with everyone).  It felt wonderful that I was able to express my displeasure, and didn’t have to deal with any guilt for doing so.  I don’t know if Nikki consciously took my tirade with calm acceptance, but the fact that she did allowed me to see that it was possible to express a “negative” emotion to someone, and then be able to to let it go after that.  And it was never brought up again in a “you hurt me when you yelled” sort of moment.  It was the start of my learning to be more open and honest with people, and I am forever grateful to her for that.

There are so many other wonderful things about our friendship; many of which I’m sure I’ll discuss here in the future.  But I just wanted to take a moment to “introduce” you wonderful readers to my best friend.

Thanks for reading!

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