I’ve been thinking about friendship for a while now and thought it apt to publish a post today, on International Friendship Day. I haven’t been thinking about friendship in the I-want-to-stab-my-friends kind of way, more in a how-lucky-am-I kind of way.
Friendship is a little like dating, you know how it goes:
You meet someone.
You hit it off.
You spend a ridiculous amount of time together in the initial throes of this AWESOME relationship. You want to know every minute detail of their life which, at the age of 40, is A LOT of catching up to do.
You may or may not gossip about people, but you might forget odds are that, if this new friend gossips about her longstanding friends to you in a slightly malicious way she’s guaranteed to eventually do the same to you.
You introduce this new-found love to your family, just as you would a new bo. If you’re lucky everyone might hit it off. If not, well, it’s a little awkward.
Once you pass the “honeymoon” phase of a friendship it gets a little tougher. You may have a difference of opinion about how to raise children, your friend’s husband (or yours) might be a douche or her (or your) children might be insufferable brats. Almost like fighting over which way the loo-paper goes or squeezing the toothpaste tube differently. You grind your teeth and keep quiet.
At this point in time you may back off a little and re-evaluate. Maybe you even say how busy you are (yes, we are ALL very busy ALL the time, myself included) and cool things down a little. Or lose your phone, depending how badly you want that toilet-roll to roll over the top and not from the bottom.
When you go through the break-up of a friendship it can also be considerably harder than that of a relationship because you often don’t have an official “break-up”, there’s maybe the quiet FB unfriend, a little bitchiness on twitter and the hurt and confusion that goes along with it. That hurt lingers a long time, it’s often a lot more personal, because we all have the Bitchy Gene. Yes, ALL of us.
You may also decide that you are in this relationship for the long haul, so you suck up the things that leave you a little uneasy, nobody is perfect after all.
Either way, us women generally gain different things from different friendships. I say “us women” because, lets face it, our friendships are much more complex than those of guys. Guys are more about beer/sport and women are more about other women/food/wine/politics (between women)/lengthy discussions on sex, parenting and marriage.
It’s hard work!
Guys (and by “guys” I mean my long-suffering husband) also don’t understand the intense feelings that go with feeling hurt or snubbed or lied to, especially by a friend you thought held you dear. Which is why you need other friends so you can analyse ad nauseam, preferably over some wine.
But every once in a while you fall completely in love with a friend and end up in a committed relationship. You may not get to see them as often as you would want to, but it doesn’t matter, because you feel safe and treasured in that friendship.
These are the friends you want to keep. When the shit hits the fan they will always be there for you and they will whack you on the head when you’re being an idiot or give you the number of their therapist when no amount of w(h)ine helps. And they will bug you until you call. They will come over with soup when you’re sick in bed and send you a message to tell you that they are thinking about you when they know you are having a tough day. They will take your child off your hands when you need some time with your husband.
That is the kind of friend I strive to be, not because I need to have those acts of love reciprocated, but because they are simply that: Acts of love. I often get it wrong, I’m terrible with remembering birthdays and buying gifts, I’m too blunt (but am luckily blessed with equally blunt friends). I often don’t answer messages and I often don’t listen because of all the other noise in my head.
But I love my friends. I am so blessed, you know who you are and I love you all stukkend.
Thank you for being in my life, just in case I forgot to tell you recently.
And I’ll try to remember to not fuck up the toothpaste.