On Friendship

Friendships, like any kind of love, I suppose, strike when you don’t expect them. It can be a bolt from the blue, or a realisation that friendship has snuck up on you unawares.

Recently, I had had an impromptu dinner out with two girlfriends who I count as relatively new friends. I ran into them at what I thought was the end of my evening out, and they invited me to join them for a drink. Have you ever felt stupidly touched at the acceptance of others? I was that evening.

So we went and ate burgers, and each of us had one sensible drink, as we were all driving, and we talked A LOT, or at least I felt like I talked A LOT, and it was about therapy, and new jobs, and men, and relationship problems, and men, and clothes, and men, and finding your place in life, and self confidence, and the artistic temperament, and men… and did I mention men?

So apart from eating a very delicious burger, and drinking a sensible glass of wine, it was a fruitful evening, because in it I learnt how Music Girl gets people to be friends with her! I need to learn this trick! Firstly she described how she said to Oxford Classicist “Ilikeyourskirtweshouldbefriends” after a few weeks of sussing her out in the office and realising that, indeed, she was someone who she could spend time with.
Then we reminisced, with the sweet nostalgia of whole months past, on how she accosted me in the ladies loos by circling her hand over my left one, saying “What is this? We NEED to go out for gin and tonics!” And that, dear readers, is how I ended up passing out after drinking many many cocktails, on my own landing, and giving myself a black eye… *sorrynotsorry*

My oldest friends are still there through sheer tenacity, I suspect. There are the friends you don’t speak with for years then randomly WhatsApp them and it’s as if you were never apart. I still miss my best friend from when I was eighteen, she was so dear to me and if she didn’t live so far away, I’d get back in touch but… maybe it’s better in the past. Aussie Nicole is a best friend across the time zones; you always need someone who’s awake when you should be asleep but can’t, because your baby is awake, or you’re stressed about work, or have stayed awake for whatever reason. A lot of my friends are at work – let’s face it, colleagues often see you more and know more about you than your spouse. There’s that friend you never see, the friend you always see… don’t get me started on frenemies…

Sometimes all it takes is one sentence, one joke, and you know, this person is going to be your friend. Or it can be the slow burn. But you never know who is going to be the person who gets you through a tough time, who is going to be the person you can’t wait to tell about x, complain about y. Some friends are fair weather friends, others are best in a crisis. Some make you laugh until you cry, others make you cry until you laugh!

When the days are long but the years are short, you realise you’ve been friends with someone for over a decade. How did that happen? Or you can have known someone for a year, and they have an impact on your life in a way you never could have imagined, in your wildest dreams.

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