22 February, 2013

Make friends, make friends...

Friendships. Such a commonly used word, such an umbrella term,  covering such a multitude of different concepts. In my 26 years in this world I have experienced so many different types of friend, and it is only with age that I have accepted 3 really important things about friendship:
  • It doesn't have to be a certain way to be worth keeping 
  • It doesn't have to last to be worth having had
  • It can and will change 
Growing up, I believed you had friends and you kept them for life. I also believed that being a friend to someone meant meeting a certain set of values. If you get on with someone, you call them your BFF, you've swapped bracelets and your Mum's are on first name terms, why wouldn't you be mates forever? Aged 16 my experience quickly changed. My best friend from birth (literally - we were born one day apart and our Mum's were at that point close friends) decided she was 16, off to college, and not only didn't want to be my BFF anymore, she didn't actually want to know me at all. It was probably one of the most heart-breaking experiences I'd had up to that point, but it was also a positive loss for me. 'Positive loss' - there's an expression you don't hear often. I'd always lived in her shadow - never as pretty, never as thin, never as cool  - and losing her was so good for me. Quickly after losing my childhood BFF to I still don't know what, I moved on and made new friends, I found confidence on my own and I found actually there's other people out there who I get on better with. Who knew!

Since then I have had a lot of true friends, because when you make friends with me it is never shallow. I don't have time for small talk, but I have all the time in the world for a deep and meaningful with someone willing to open up and give me their time. As a result, I have a lot of good friends, in that they aren't friends just for show or just to party with or there to make sure I'm never alone, but  are really true friends who between them have built up my confidence, helped me move forwards (literally at times), picked me up out of various messes, told me the truth when I have needed to hear it and ultimately helped me make my life so, so much better than it would have been if I'd never found them.

I have also had more shallow friendships, people who have come and gone, and at times I have struggled to accept the going part, but with maturity I have realised that it doesn't matter if they do go at some point, or if the friendships changes and suddenly they aren't your best mate. Being close to someone and then suddenly not being doesn't make them any less of a friend, it just means they were meant to be your friend for that time, in that way - they did something for you then but they can't anymore. It doesn't matter, when you do have life friends who will dance at your wedding, tell you when you're out of line and drive round to your house with emergency wine - the rest can come and go, because it's these staple friends who really matter.

Sometimes you think you have a friend for life and then something, somewhere,suddenly takes them away from you, but then that was just meant to be too. We change and we grow so much, and we don't always do it at the same pace as our friends, or in the same direction. So you let people go. That said, if you find a friend who lifts you up, who will be there for you through the good times and the bad, who doesn't criticise or judge you, who values you, loves you for who you are warts and all, then keep a hold of them. Those friends shouldn't come and go. Those friends should always, always stay.

Tonight I get to see one of my staples. Sometimes you meet someone who is going to change your life for the better, but you don't realise it straight away. Then some time later they become the person who you rely on, who jumps on a train just to come and drink wine with you after a stressful week, who is one of the very, very few people in the world who gives more to you than you give to them (and doesn't ask for it back), who seems to know what's right for you as good as if they were your mother and who makes you wonder what the hell you ever did without them. I went a long time not knowing that sort of friendship, where there is no pressure or expectation on you, just constant understanding, unyielding support and giving from them. I have found friends like that more recently though, as I have I have grown to be more true to myself and become more confident of who I am, and I will do my utmost to always be as good to them as they are to me.

Here's to wine and friendship - cheers.


Guess who's the photogenic one...x

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