“Friends will be friends, when you’re in need of love they give you care and attention. Friends will be friends, when you’re through with life and all hope is lost, hold out your hand cos friends will be friends right till the end” ~ Queen

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Friendship (n): the state of being a friend, association as friends, to value a person’s friendship

Eleven years ago, strangely enough at this time of year, I caught my boyfriend and my best friend together. Yes, it is a tragic tale but not without some humorous elements but that’s a story for another time. The only reason I mention is, a few days after the event, said best friend came out with a line regarding the situation that I’ve never forgotten. She said, and this is a direct quote, “There are three people hurting in this situation when there should only be one.” Her meaning was that, despite our close friendship that she had betrayed, despite the several years boyfriend and I had been together, I should gracefully back off and leave the two of them to be happy together.

Needless to say, both the relationship and the friendship ended.

I missed her so much. He I got over quickly in comparison. But I missed my friendship with her badly. Friends, good close friends, are so incredibly hard to find. Someone who thinks like you, laughs at what you laugh at, shares your ideas & your hopes, has got your back even when you didn’t even realise you were in trouble.

People roll out all the clichés when a relationship ends “Plenty more fish in the sea” they say, amongst others, but for the death of a friendship there’s nothing. You’re just supposed to dust yourself off and carry on.

@miss_alaynius wrote a great blog on the differing nature of friendships and has summed it up much better than I feel I could (especially as I have been trying to write this blog since Christmas!). Some people do only drift into our lives for a season, turn up for a specific reason, or stay for life. But every single one has an impact on and changes our lives.

Social media has now a massive impact on our lives and so, as an extension of that, out friendships. Close, intense, friendships can be formed between people who’ve never even met. Some people don’t understand this. ‘How can you be friends? You’ve never met them.’ Do you need to physically meet someone to call them a friend? Was there ever this much furore about pen friends?

Another blog that has highlighted how friendships made via social media can matter and mean so much is this by @andromedababe. Stuck at home, ill, now with a broken arm, the things she has received and is still receiving from people she’s never met are making her time at home so much more bearable. I’ve benefited from some glorious bits of post from ‘unknown’ friends too; chocolates to fatten me up, random gifts and cards to make me smile, and my own Pink Panther DVD boxset. The chocolates were swiftly and happily eaten, other things still litter my flat and my desk at work and make me smile

Going back to my ex best friend, it took years to stop missing her, to stop having that close female friendship void. But over the last 3 years I’ve made three close and I truly believe life-enduring friendships with three amazing women. I went to the wedding of one at the weekend. As I said at time and then to her later, she has never looked more beautiful nor have I felt prouder to be her friend than when she walked down the aisle. She has had such a tough time, to see her happy is all I could wish for. Another is the person who gave me the picture at the top of this post. In a short space of time, out friendship and we ourselves have survived so many blows, set-backs and hardships it fair takes our breath away. She has just undergone major surgery and will be in recovery for a long time. We share a toast to a far off time in the future when she will be healthy and my life will be boring. The third is @bear_faced_lady. We only met a year ago, via Twitter. The friendship and support she shows me, during a time of such personal adversity for her, can barely be described. We’re both still in the wars but she’s holding my hand in her tiny bear paws (as so eloquently written about in this story) and we’re getting there, one step at a time.

There are loads of other people I could mention who enrich my life but then this would stop looking like a blog post and turn more into an Oscar acceptance speech. Just be aware that, if I am your friend, in some way it means I think you’re amazing.

So, if you have a good friend, or even just a fleeting friend, go give them a hug or send them a text or give them a call, just let them know they’re appreciated and  that they matter to you.

And, just so you know, that ex best friend? If she ever contacted me I’d still be there for her. Just because she stopped being my friend doesn’t mean I stopped being hers.

Interested in your thoughts, as always.



8 thoughts on “Friendship

  1. Even if you are my (twitter) sister, I do see you as a friend! I know that I know little about you (and you about me) but I feel that I could actually email you and be like “OMG, its all gone wrong” and that you would reply with some balanced and caring advice! I dont feel that it matters that we have never met and I have always been a firm beliver that people are in your life for a reason! I know I have been put in peoples life for a reason and I am glad that in a time of crisis I made a positive difference!

    Last line is so true too. I might not have had a best friend cheat on me with my boyfriend, but I have had friends hurt me very much and yet phone me sometime later and be like “I didnt know who else to turn too”. I, of course, helped them out and was there but admittidly felt very smug (Moral high ground for the win!)

    Another very true and honest blog!

    Georgie x

  2. Colin and I were at infant school together but I had no recollection of ever knowing him then

    At primary school, we became bitter enemies (were in rival gangs), even though we only lived 10 houses away from each other

    At 11, we were the only two kids on our estate to pass the 11+. First day at Grammar School we were stood at the bus stop together. It was scary. All these older boys. They were wearing long trousers. We had no option – friendship was the only protection!

    Within a year, the best of best of friends – inseparable

    By the age of 14, we had a “reputation” – I remember us both sitting behind a girl who was boasting to her mates she’d been out with both of us. We’d never seen her before … ever!

    At 16, I left school but Colin stayed on for A levels – he was going in the army and wanted to go in as an officer.

    At 17, it suddenly dawned on me that he was gay! He hid it well, we never talked about it, but he knew that i knew. Not something that impacted on our friendship in any way

    At 18, he joined the Army but was discharged on medical grounds because he had developed epilepsy

    The first tiny fracture in our friendship was when he started taking drugs. i was no angel, but he was using all the time. Not the best idea with his health problems. His mental health was affected and we drifted apart for a year, even though we still lived 10 houses away

    At 20, I arrived at the court where I worked to find that he was in the cells, charged with attempted murder. Despite being told it would put my job in jeopardy, I stood bail for him. He got probation for a wounding in the end, More importantly, he got off the drugs and into treatment. We were “bessies” again

    At 21, I was distraught that the girl who would become my wife of 33 years and counting seemed rather more keen on another mate. I remember waking Colin at 2.00am and spending the next six hours speaking gibberish to him as he nodded sagely along.

    At 23, we both got married. A mistake for Colin, what with being gay and all. Two children later, his wife left him when she caught him with another man (i think she had always known, but had turned a blind eye previously)

    At 28, I moved away. By this time, he had become so much a part of our family that he would often socialise with my brothers and sisters

    At 30, he announced he was marrying again. A girl he had met on a training course. He was moving to Devon.

    At 32, he rang me. The marriage was over, he was drinking heavily, and saw no point in carrying on. i should have gone see him, but i’d just been made partner at the law firm i worked for and was “too busy”. I suggested he came up to us. he said he’d think about it.

    A week later, his estranged wife rang – Colin had hung himself

    I cried. A lot. My Dad died shortly afterwards, but that did not upset me anywhere near as much as Colin’s death. 24 years later, it still hits me from time to time.

    Not had a “best friend” since. Couldn’t possibly. No one could know me as well as Colin knew me. Colin could finish my sentences.

    Have just realised that this is a bit of a “downer” after your upbeat post but what i am trying to say is that “best friends” are very rare. Cherish them. Forgive them anything, because they are irreplaceable.

  3. Excellent, as always.

    It is becoming more and more curious how attached I have got to some ‘strangers’ on twitter; most of whom I don’t actually know by name.

    Re: The final paragraph, yes that. I have one of those. It pains me to think that if that person did walk back into my life again today I would do pretty much anything for them. You love who you love, that is the burden…

  4. A lovely post and a good reminder of the importance of friendships.

    I’ve always been, by nature, the type to drift in and out of peoples lives; I have only one friend from childhood that I’ve known since about 5 years old and still keep in touch with, though probably not as much as I should.

    Even though we can go long stretches without having spoken, within a few minutes of seeing each other it’s as if no time has passed at all, with us usually still acting like a couple of 5 year olds!

  5. You have captured the spirit of friendship beautifully. I have a lot of online friends, some of whom I’ve since met, but many of which I never have and never will, but I care about them, and enjoy their friendship, and try to remember to tell them… which is what brought me here 🙂


  6. You deserve and deserved better, not only from them but from your other friends, definitely including me. Most things I feel sorry about I at least got some pleasure from at the time, but how I wasn’t there for you remains one of the unhappiest memories of my life. All I can do is try and be a better friend now. You deserve it and more.

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