Friday 12 October 2018

A tale about friendship

I'd like to tell a little tale about friendship and how sometimes the smallest gesture can mean so much. This could be about me, about you, or about that friend you used to be so close to you shared everything, yet you've forgotten the last time you spoke. It may not feel familiar to you, or it may just make you pick up the phone...

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

As a child our friends are often people we see every day, in school, at activities such as sports and other clubs, play dates, going round for tea, birthday parties and so much more. We get used to having them in our lives as a constant and our days are brighter for it. When we are small we may draw them pictures or write them notes then as we grow maybe spend hours making them friendship bracelets, as a teen we share photos, silly selfies, puppy dog filters and more. All these are small things but they are ways of letting someone know we care and are thinking of them.

When we were five it seemed so natural to draw a rainbow on a piece of paper and give it to our best friend because they made us think of rainbows and we wanted to make them smile, but as we get older that starts to wane. Maybe as teens we worry it would be uncool, maybe we want to impress, but we still do things together, our friends are who we spend time with our worlds revolve around them, we go out dancing, go to festivals, listen to music and watch shows together, our beliefs and views are shaped from shared experiences. We share our heartache, our worries and our secrets, but most of all we share our joy. New love, new clothes, new babies. These may not be the same friends from our youngest days but are still so important to us. Then we get older still and busier, we may move away from those friends sometimes geographically, but often just emotionally and we have less time to share. We may make new friends with shared interests such as children a similar age or careers in common but even these can start to falter.

A regular catch up for dinner becomes a quick coffee, which then becomes a phone call each month and eventually a text or whatsapp. We become engrossed in our own busy lives with our partners and children and all of a sudden it's been two years and it feels like it's too late to make that call or send that message and especially to draw that rainbow on a scrunched up piece of paper just to say you were thinking of them.

As a thirty something, working mother of two, life is busy, it's hard and it's tiring. 

Sometimes it seems too busy for friendships, maybe we manage to keep up with some friends online, or we get together with the kids, but there's never time to actually talk, to finish a sentence or listen to something they might really want to share with us. 

Life is lonely without friends. 

There are people all around us, we work with them each day and we chat to them but they have their friends in the real world and they assume we have ours. 

We walk down the street and see the joy in the faces of people as they meet up with friends after work, ready to talk (and maybe drink) away the worries and stresses of the working week. 

We watch movies that portray life long friends growing old together and being there for each other through every up and down.

We see our children running across the playground to give their bestie the biggest hug because they have missed them so much since yesterday.

Each time we feel a huge pang of loneliness, but that guilt of being a poor friend, the embarrassment of knowing that we may not have been there when it mattered stops us reaching out.

Then the phone rings and we realise we didn't need to reach out this time because they did. They drew a metaphorical rainbow to show they were thinking of us and it made us smile.

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