A couple of years ago, a good friend of mine and I had a falling out. We got into an argument over certain political issues, that I won't discuss here, and he ended up angrily telling me that he never wanted to speak to me again. Now, I wasn't angry at him and I did not want to lose him as a friend. I tried to discuss his disagreement with me several times, but he refused. So, I figured he wasn't going to budge on it. I hoped that at some point he would relent, but in the meantime I stopped speaking to him. Several years have passed since that day. The other day, I got an email from him apologizing. I responded that there were no hard feelings. Now we are friends again. Simple as that.
My friend and I have been friends for a good 10 years or so. It hasn't been an easy friendship. We are two very different people. He smokes. I don't. He's a Democrat. I tend toward the Republican side of the fence. He's gay. I'm straight. He suffers from bipolar disorder. I don't.
He is the first real gay friend I've ever had. Before I met him and became friends with him, I admit I was quite homophobic, but being friends with him has taught me a lot. I've learned to become a lot more tolerant and understanding of homosexuality. Does the concept of homosexuality still 'creep me out' at times? Yes, and it likely always will. That's just the way I am. We think differently on this subject, as we do in many subjects. I've learned to accept him and others like him for what he is. It's just another detail of who they are. Something to notice, but not be concerned about.
As for his bipolar disorder, that has been an education as well. Bipolar disorder used to be called Manic Depression. In other words, some days you are depressed and some days you are really manic (cheerful and full of energy). It was certainly an adventure to find out which side of him was out that day. This was yet another new experience for me. I'd never been friends with someone with a mental disorder before. Again, this was an education for me and I think it helped me develop a better tolerance for people like this. One day a number of years ago, he had not been taking his medications. This caused him to get seriously messed up, mentally. He ended up wandering several miles away from his house. He had ended up walking because his father had taken away his car keys because he knew he wasn't in any condition to be driving a car. After wandering for a while, I think he realized he was in trouble, so he called me and asked me to come pick him up. I did. We went back to my house and chatted for a while. It was obvious that he was in very bad shape mentally. He talked on and on about nonsensical things all evening. I'd never dealt with this before. I didn't know what to do. Eventually, he suggested we go get something to eat. I ended up driving him to the hospital, without telling him I was going to do that. I didn't know what else to do. When we got to the hospital, he realized why I was there and he got mad. He refused to go in and told me to take him home. I turned around and took him home. When I brought him home, his father was very relieved that I had brought him back. He had wandered off hours earlier and not told anyone, including his father where he was. His father was very worried about him. I was very flattered that even in his current state, that he trusted me enough to call me for help.
I've valued his friendship. I've learned a lot about dealing with people who are different from being friends with him. I'm glad we were friends and I'm very glad that we seem to be heading back to being friends.
Good to have you back, bud!