This week I was reminded of the importance of friendship and friends in my life. I asked myself the question, “what is a friend”? How do we distinguish between ‘best’ or ‘good’ friends and acquaintances? If you look up the word friend you will get answers like “A supportive caring relationship that allows you to completely be yourself. Someone who knows you well and likes to be with you in spite of your imperfections”, I thought this was a lovely way to describe a friend, but we have all different types of friends in our lives that each allow us to be the person we are at that given time. I know as a younger person I had friends that allowed me to be adventurous and daring…might I even go as far as to say risk-taking! Yes some of them were not the best influences in my life, but again as with all friends I learned valuable lessons whilst they were in my life.

I look at the friends I have for many years, there are a few that come to mind immediately, they have seen the many changes in my life as I have seen theirs, the pain and anguish we may have gone through at different stages and the many challenges that we faced and overcame. These friends have been with me through much of my life events to date and I am so thankful to each and every one of them. I also think of the friends that I had for only a short time, maybe because of our situations or circumstances, e.g working together or sharing accommodation, we only had to share a short space of time on this world together to learn something new about ourselves and they were our partners on our path at the time. It’s not that you fall out with these friends or had to leave the country to not see them or continue the friendship, it is just life changes with our situations, life experiences and we move on without purposefully deciding the friendship is over. It is just life.

I have heard it said that you can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep, is this true I ask myself? Of course as I have said earlier, when I was younger the company I kept may not have been the best, but we were young and had no real sense of the world and what was ahead of us, we just lived for the moment. As I got older I met some wonderful people that were not all like me in their interests and beliefs, I had a variety of friends that were more sportier, more fashionable, even more single than I was! So I can’t say that it was a reflection of me with the friends that I had at any given time.

So on pondering the many friends in my life to date, I look at each one and ask what qualities in each of these wonderful people reflect me or that I admire. Do I have these qualities or do I admire these friends for the qualities I lack? If I look at any of my friends and notice something I don’t really like, is this something that is a reflection of myself…staring back at me through the eyes of my friend? I could analysis each and every quality and ‘lack of’ in my friends, but who are any of us to judge one another. We come to meet on this journey for a specific reason, to help each other out even in times of trouble not just when the good times are there to be celebrated.

The whole point in friendship is befriending a person, no matter what their circumstance, religion, upbringing or relationship status is at that present moment. When you ‘click’ with someone and feel like you have known them your entire life, you know that you feel comfortable in that person’s energy, you are safe with them. If this friendship is for the long or the short term doesn’t really matter, what matters is that when you are with each other you are truly spending time listening and caring for each other. We may have friends that we only hear from in the ‘bad’ times or friends that invite us to every celebration or ‘good’ time in their lives, we all try to find even ground with our friends, but the truth is we are all individuals, we all live separate lives and we can only try to be there for the good and the bad times and trust that your friends value you enough to share their life experiences with you at any time.  

We have all become so busy with our lives that we forget the true purpose of our existence as human beings on this planet, to love, to share, to give and to help each other. I learned this week that true friendship is not about how many times you call your friends, or how many times you meet up, but it is about the time you give them in your head and your heart, thinking about them, sending them love even from long distances, wishing them well and looking forward to the next time you will spend time together. I value each and every one of my friends that I have had the honour of getting to know up to this very minute. Each one of them has taught me something new about myself and about life, I am still being taught every day as long as I open my eyes and ears and take time out to listen and really be there when my friends are with me. I try to be the best friend that I know how to be, sometimes I feel I could make more of an effort, sometimes I wish other people would make more of an effort, but again that is friendship, we take the good with the bad and know that whenever we meet up we will just pick up from where we left off last.

Whatever saying there is about friends, they may all be true, but for me friends are the people in our lives that love us unconditionally, they honour who you are and who you want to be, they ease your pain when you can’t feel anymore, they make you smile and laugh even when there is nothing to laugh at anymore, they speak to you honestly even when you don’t want to hear the truth, they understand you can’t always be there for each other,  but mostly they are the ones in your life that allow each other to be real, thank you to all my beautiful friends.