My best friend in the entire world has just announced (on Facebook, as is customary these days,) that she is now ‘officially’ in a relationship. She’s six years younger than me so I was always convinced it would happen again for her. I couldn’t be happier though, wherever this relationship leads them.
It got me thinking about friendship. I am genuinely happy for her. And I mean 100% genuinely happy. Because true friends should be, right? I know it may mean that my relationship with her may change in some small way but she has always ‘proved’, for want of a better word, her worth to me as a friend and I know that nothing fundamentally will change about us as in the long run.
As a forty-something woman, my idea of friendship is perhaps different to what it used to be. I’m not interested in what people can do for me, moreover it’s about who they are as people, what they stand for, their beliefs … and how we ‘fit’ together as people. Just like any other relationship I guess.
So, what do I look for in a friend?
This is a big one. Whether it is standing up for someone in public and or just asking how a friend is, it is support. It’s the basis on which all friendships are made. Whether it is understanding someone well enough to know when they aren’t quite themselves … and then making the call about whether they need cheering up or consoling, it is all support. Sometimes no words are necessary. just an understanding between two people that they will always be there when they’re needed is enough.
Sharing a similar sense of humour is imperative. I have a very dry wit and am somewhat of an acquired taste. I also happen to think I am hilarious … and anyone who agrees, tends to end up my friend.
When choosing someone to date there is nothing sexier than having passions in common. Whether that’s music, books, running .. whatever … (although in my case definitely not running.) The same thing goes for friends. And if you don’t enjoy the same things at least you understand the importance of appreciating your friend’s weird taste in books about serial killers. Seriously.
Judging people full stop isn’t cool. Judging a friend’s choices … less cool. I might not always agree with what my friends say or do, but that’s their call. Who am I to judge? And I expect the same in return.
My best friend and I have a shared history that spans 30 years. Our Mums were best friends from the age of 15 and we have continued that tradition – not throughout our entire lives, but we’ve always been around in some capacity. We’ve known each other so long we finish off each others’ sentences, we know what each other is thinking just by a certain look and we’ve been through similar traumatic experiences. We’re like a married couple. Without the sex. (So just like a married couple.)
Respecting someone is a big deal in my book – I don’t have time for anyone who doesn’t respect me as a person (or a girlfriend) and I’ve learnt (the hard way) to cut the dead wood around me. It frees me up to give all I have to people who ‘deserve’ it … but boy, was that a hard lesson to learn. I like to think that if you’re still my friend at aged 43, you’re doing alright.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, just a few things that sprung to mind when thinking about friendship. I choose to have very few friends around me, but the ones I do class as my friends mean everything to me. In return, I like to think I am a good friend too, even when I am dealing with my own demons, I try my best to be the type of friend I’d want in return.
I had a crappy 2013 but one positive to come out of it? I know who my friends are. They stood up and were counted.
What do you look for in a good friend?