I have been thinking about Friendship during my walks lately so I thought I’d share some of my thoughts with you. For me there are several types of friendships, close, long-term, social or based on common interests. Some people we meet regularly, others a few times a year, many via email, Skype and Facebook. Since returning from Spain I have been lucky to re-establish regular contact with old friends, made new friends in my choir, book club and yoga class. Many friends I’ve known over 30 years, some just one year. What decides the change from acquaintance to friend, is it an instinct or circumstance. A few people I have known over 40 years but they have not become close friends. Some work colleagues became friends before I retired but two remain really close. Is friendship based on trust, mutual support, shared experiences, common interests or just knowing a person responds to you in a similar way? Do we recognise a kindred spirit? Does one share everything with all one’s friends or is there an “inner circle” or hierarchy of importance? What is friendship based on? So many questions.
I know how special my close friends are to me, helping me through tough times, sharing special times based on mutual trust and affection. A common denominator I realise is an ability to see the funny side of life, even in dire times. My mother once told me that you can count your close friends on one hand, others are acquaintances. I am lucky in my real friends, they are honest, feel they can be open with me but most of all we laugh. We also seem to consume a lot of cake! Occasionally wine!!
These days the internet plays a central role in keeping in touch with people via social media. Telephones give an opportunity to have a conversation immediately but not always in depth. I read somewhere recently that people rarely write actual letters these days, I love receiving letters through the mail. Birthday and Christmas cards are not first choice for many people these days, the cost maybe prohibits for some people, but e-cards offer an easy alternative. Letters take time to write, cards are quicker, but sometimes a letter can express sentiments that are difficult in other formats.
I am lucky to have friends based over Europe, the States and Mexico as well as in Britain. Some I meet regularly maybe for a coffee or lunch, others take a lot of planning and diary matching of dates, a bit like organising a summit meeting especially if there are more than two people involved. Close friends feel as if we saw them yesterday, we pick up threads of conversation and laugh at things that have happened. The internet is ideal for maintaining friendships but nothing beats a face to face meeting. Skype can help a bit but I feel inhibited by the whole process! This blog doesn’t quite meet the criteria I’ve listed above as I’ve never met any of you, well – dear Tricia is in the close friend category – yet we share thoughts and ideas that form a different sort of friendship.
On our 30th Wedding Anniversary my husband said that we have become comfortable together, at the time I said that made me feel old! Later I realised the true meaning of what he had said comfortable equates with friendship, we have been married almost 43 years now and remain comfortable despite the tests we’ve faced thank goodness! So many friendships like jewels.