Friends play an important role in our lives. It is said that friends are the family we choose and I must say, I agree with this saying. When life is handing you lemons, it is usual friends that you turn to. For some people, friends may in fact be family members. I have a good friendship with one of my sisters. We are able to communicate on the level as sisters with a long history, as well as enjoy a drink together as friends.
Some people gather friends like a florist gathers flowers. They may think that every individual in the group cares about them equally however, often times, groups are formed by shared interests. Sometimes these interests include photography or writing, cooking or mothers groups. Occasionally, groups form out of a shared dislike for a person. Anyone who has ended up friends with the fling of a partner knows how this can happen.
I wouldn’t say I had many friends growing up. I was shy and reserved and have always had an uncanny sense for bullshit and backstabbing, both of which I tend to avoid as best I can. Cousins are usually the first friends that most people make. I only had one cousin my age and we never really saw eye to eye. We exist in a shared space of mutual dislike for each other and the benefit of being an adult is I know no longer get thrust into situations where I have to spend much time with this person and her overwhelming fakeness.
Some would say that I have serious trust issues. I suppose on some levels those people would be correct. This does not mean that I seek to shut everyone out. If you are in my circle, you bring value to my life and I hope I bring value to yours. I found a true friend for the first time when I was in my late twenties. At work, where surrounded by many colleagues, I found a handful of people who had my back and one in particular who I have leant on until this day. I am not used to having someone who I can share my deepest darkest secrets with, and the myriad of insecurities and crazy thoughts that flood my mind. I am especially not used to knowing that I can trust this person with these private thoughts and believe with absolute certainty that he would not do anything intentionally to hurt me. My bestie, happens to be a guy and this tends to cause confusion for some. It is a belief in life, no doubt popularised by the media and rather insipid chick flicks that guys and gals can’t be friends. It is simply not true. Friendships, real friendships can form between anyone.
My other closest friend, and this may sound completely cliché, is my partner. He and I have a solid relationship and can support each other as both a friend and lover. My partner has no issues with my having a male friend. He understands that people are capable of just being friends. Although I would never say “just” friends as if friendship is somehow diminished from not having bumped uglies or having any desire to.
My adorable niece has a best friend that is a stuffed toy. For her, the fact that she is the only one who can hear her plush pals wisdom, doesn’t diminish the friendship. For some people, the best friend is the pet dog or cat, a neighbour, or even a parent. Friendships exist in all forms and should never be judged by external sources. We cannot know the measure of anyone elses friendship. We should not seek to place an arbitrary value on one relationship over another. Friends are the shade that shelter us from the storms in life and if friends were flowers in a garden, I know who I would pick.