I was buying a birthday card for a very dear friend the other day…It was his birthday today….when It suddenly hit me that he wasn’t here anymore. He lost his battle with illness earlier this year. I dropped the card and fled from the shop, hoping no one would see my tears.
We had known each other since our teens..he was, and I know he wouldn’t mind me saying as we used to laugh about it, my gay best friend.
In our student days we shopped, giggled, danced, talked all night, gossiped (God, was he good at that!!), laughed, and cried together…
We were always there for each other, and although our lives took us on different paths, he seemed to instinctively know when I needed to talk to him. There had been times when I had gone to text or ring him and my phone had rung, and it was him.
He was wise and intuitive, knew more about me than I did, and invariably had the right answers at the right time, not that I always heeded them…….And I miss him terribly
But it started me thinking about friendships, how we form them,, whom with, what types, and what happens when they go wrong.
Believe it or not, I am quite a shy person, and it takes me a while to get to know people and feel comfortable around them. I’m certainly not likely to tell you my complete life story over our first cup of coffee! But there have been some people who I have instantly “clicked ” with
Some people form lasting friendships at school. My daughter’s best friend is a girl she has known since she was 2…mainly because I was friends with her Mother. I can’t say I ever did though. Oh, I had friends but never the all-consuming ones that some school children have.
At Senior school I did have one very good friend, with whom I got up to all sorts of mischief….I know you find that hard to believe!!
My first lasting friendship was formed with J, when we started our Nurse training at 17.. I suppose it was because we went through so much together, and did a lot of growing up….we also had some fabulous adventures, but perhaps that’s another blog.
Our friendship was built on shared experiences both professionally and personally….career progression, marriages, failed relationships, parenthood. We drifted apart for a short period,as friends often do,but found each other again, and carried on where we had left off, and now with another chapter in our lives opening up before us as we hang up our professional hats ( well sort of anyway!) we’re planning more adventures together, including a trip to Glastonbury Festival!
Then there are the ones formed through the heady days of Motherhood, again I suppose I only made a couple of what I would term as “close friends” that have endured the passing years, and they were from the days when my daughter was young.
One was, and still is, a very good friend. Our daughters were the same age, and friends, and we shared the bond of being full-time working mums. A confident, bubbly person with hair and a dress sense that I envied when we were younger! I remember being quite low a couple of weeks after Master chef was born.. I have no idea why. Anyway, one Sunday morning I was feeling particularly weepy and the OH didn’t know what to do. he disappeared ,only to return about an hour later to say he had asked Ju to come and see me.
I WENT MAD!! …. she was the very last person I wanted to see, with her perfect hair and fab figure, lovely clothes ,and tanned legs!! She arrived and I fell into her arms weeping while she patiently listened to my insane rantings.
It was the best thing that could have happened, and we still laugh about that day now!
And our girls are still the very best of friends as well
When I had my boys I was older than a lot of the other mums in town…. I also worked full-time, so was never really involved with the school gate brigade, in fact I was considered a bit of an oddity. Working mums were not the norm then… well not where I lived
Obviously I have formed some lovely lasting friendships with my colleagues and peers throughout my professional life, and we still see each other regularly and put the world and NHS to rights……
As well as my very dear friend whom I meet every 6 weeks or so for cocktails, lunch and a good old chat.. in fact we never stop talking, and we have to alternate lunch venues as I’m sure we infuriate the waiters who hover waiting to take our order!!
I have a small circle of very close friends. We came together through our shared love of music and drama. We dine together, go on trips to theatre.
And, of course, there are “my ladies” A super bunch that are always there and we have fab times together, as well as sharing the not so good ones
Within that group I have 2 very close female friends with whom I share many things, and who I know I can always rely on. We’ve been through good and bad times together.
We have very open and honest relationships, and can say almost anything to each other……after all, if you can’t be truthful with your best friends who can you be with? I have always believed in saying things as they are , and it has caused problems at times.
A few years ago one asked me my opinion on something going on in her life…. I told her, gently but truthfully…..and it completely ruined our friendship. we didn’t speak for a couple of years, and I was completely excluded from the social circle I had been part of for ages. Luckily we sorted our differences and are now very close again, with complete trust and faith in each other. I know she is always there for me, day or night, as I am for her. I am very grateful for that second chance with her. We know we can be completely honest and truthful without either of us taking umbrage,as we only have the best of each others interests at heart.
I think it is a true sign of friendship if you can encounter these obstacles and overcome them with your friendship still intact.
I have another friend who is getting married very shortly. She has no immediate family close by, by that I mean sister etc, and she asked if she could stay with me the night before her wedding and go to church from the house. I feel very honoured that she counts our friendship so strong as to want to do this, We are also looking forward to a lovely “girly night” with the rest of the ladies on the Friday night!!
To add to these circles of friends we now have our “cyber ” friends. Those whom we have met through social networks such as Twitter.
And I have met some fabulous people on here, some that just pop on and say hello, some who have full on conversations that can continue for ages. Some who share same interests. And the lovely thing about it is, that age and gender don’t really come into it. I chat with people from in their twenties to their seventies.
Occasionally there are the odd “bots” who appear on your timeline, but they don’t last long
You can get help with recipes, what to wear, where to obtain those illusive things you can never find…. and if you are feeling sad or low, the love and support you find is overwhelming. I certainly have been incredibly touched by this recently.
And some have become more than just “cyber friends”… we text, talk ( yes shock horror…proper verbal communication) Some I have met, and some I would love to meet.
Some have become real friends, whom I’m hope will remain so for a very long time….and you know who you are
Friends are the ones you share things with that you would probably can’t share with family. They can offer objective advice. They can turn a tear into a smile.
I, for one, would be lost without mine.
And I thank every single one of the you who have touched my life…whether in the real or cyber world