Insights: The Importance Of Friendship

friendship1.jpg

Do you remember how easy it was to make friends in the playground as a child? You might be friends with someone one day, fall out with them the next, and make a new one the day after that. Of course, in the playground, a friend was someone you played with, not someone you told your deepest darkest secret to and swore them to never breath it again. Friendships get more complicated as we get older but also so much more precious and something to value.

I had many friends in primary school, all of which were called, at that moment in time, my best friend. Most of my friends I lived beside also went to the same school as me, except for one (more on her later) so it made it easier for me to carry on those friendships outside of school. My memories of childhood are so immensely happy, much of which is due to the happy memories of these carefree friendships. There were lots of fall outs, of course, which at the time probably felt like the end of the world, but nothing that couldn't be put right or forgotten about. However, there were three of us who lived right beside each other and for some reason, we couldn't all play together. It just never worked. So two of us could only ever be friends at any one time. But not only that, it also meant that you had to 'fall out' with the other one. Bizarre, I know!

Being friends at primary school was so easy. Me and one of my best friends (who is still my friend now) would go out during the summer holidays, as early as we were allowed to call for each other, and play until we were forced to come in again (meal times not included). And you know what was so precious about this?! On many occasion we didn't have a single toy between us, we used our imagination to create a whole new world, we would head down to the playing fields 'in the long grass' and build a mansion (by trampling down grass to create hallways and rooms) and pretend to be princesses. It was magical. Or we would head out on our bikes and go much further than you knew you were allowed to go. This was back in the day when you worried more about telling your parents about how you got your injury than the injury itself (now, you would be whisked off to hospital for a scratch on your knee). Whether these friendship go beyond primary school or not, they make for perfect nostalgia. I was lucky enough that my first best friend is still one of my good friends.

friendship2.jpg

Then we move to secondary school, start having boyfriends (not always a good mix), go to university, start your first job, move jobs, move towns, cities or even countries, then meet your future husband. This entire journey will create many new friendships and also end many friendships, until you end up with a select number of close friends that will remain important to you for a long time, despite not always finding enough time for them. A true friend is one that, despite not speaking to or seeing for a while, you can just pick up where you left off.

Female friendships are very important. Women need friends to talk to, but most importantly someone that will listen to them. Whilst we all love our husbands and children dearly, an hours chat on the phone or a lunch date with your best friend is so therapeutic. It is one of the best ways to de-stress. They will let you alleviate all your troubles onto them without passing judgement or most importantly holding it against you in the future. They will never say 'I told you so' and no matter what life throws at you, your best friend will be there for you. 

Quite often, as in the case of life partners, opposites attract in friendship. I have my childhood friend, and although we don't live close or see each much, we always reconnect the minute we meet up. We have a lifetime of history together, albeit with long periods apart. We went to different primary schools, secondary schools, universities, countries we lived in and now we live about 4.5 hours away from each other. We are very different people but we have a bond that takes us back to childhood and many shared memories over the years. We were inseparable as kids and then we went off on our own paths and have mutually respected each others decisions. I think this a testament to our friendship.

Then I have my friends from university, one of whom I am particularly close to (she's the one who holds the group together). We love to reminisce about our 3 years at university (we lived together for 2 of them) and the fabulous times we had, in between catching up on each others lives. She is someone I know I could call if I was feeling down and needed a pick me up. I have known her for twenty years and I have honestly never seen her in a bad mood or angry at or with anyone or anything. I don't know how she does it but I try to take a leaf out her book now and again. We went off to America together after university for 4 months and so we have so many fabulous memories which has been the perfect grounding for our friendship. 

And then I have my sister, who is the one person I know I could call in the middle of the night and she would answer and listen to me. I've never needed to call her in the middle of the night but I have needed her on a few occasions and she dropped everything (including 3 young children) to come to my aid. She is a star. We weren't close when we were kids but as we've got older, we're here for each other. This friendship is invaluable. It's very reassuring to know there is at least one person out there you can call on if it all goes belly up.

I once had a friend for about 2 years, a girl I worked with. We never socialised together outside work but I did visit her a few times at home (when she was on maternity leave). We struck up a close friendship while we worked together. We kept in touch for a while after we stopped working together but then it faded away. Although it was a short friendship it was one that I have cherished, one that brought something valuable to my life. It was quite weird, we talked about things that I wouldn't open up to with a lot of people. She went through an extremely difficult time when we were friends and I gave her that someone she could reach out to. I also confided in her about personal things I was going through. Not all friendships will last forever but it doesn't mean that friendship was very important at that moment in your life.  

friends3.jpg

Friends come in all forms. We get different things from different friendships. The one who makes you laugh, the one who will listen to you, the one who always knows what to say when you're going through a difficult time. Cherish your friendships. And don't waste time on people who make you feel negative. A true friend will be there for you always, even, and especially, when they don't agree with all of your desicions.

 "A friend who understands your tears is much more valuable than a lot of friends who only know your smile." Anonymous