Remember those deep, soul-searing friendships of your childhood that you just knew were going to be forever?
The people you shared your deepest secrets with, in the knowledge that they wouldn’t ever pass them on?
Where did they go in adulthood?
I’m well known for having a ridiculous number of very good friendships, all of which I’ve nurtured carefully and with love over the years (or months). I’m also very lucky that some of the people I’m closest to are friends I’ve had since childhood.
The women and men I am proud to call my friends have got me through the darkest times of my life, and have shared the happiest. They’re there for every rollercoaster moment, every up, every down and every in between “meh” day – and I love them for it. I can’t imagine life without them in it, and I love the quiet, easy, unjudgemental way we don’t have to be in touch frequently to know we have absolutely got each other’s backs.
In a crisis, I know that my true friends, even the ones I’ve not seen for more than a year, would drop everything and come to my side. As I would for them.
Though I have had more time than most to dedicate to my friendships, partly due to not having had a proper romantic relationship since about 2008, I strongly believe that even women in the strongest of romantic relationships need close friends.
We all need someone to confide in, someone who understands us and who connects with what we really want to do and be. And if we are in a relationship, it’s good to have different perspectives than just our own and our other half’s.
Yet even with all our online connection tools in the 21st century, it can be hard to truly connect with new people and with your own tribe. We’re busy, as a society we’re far more focused on finding and maintaining romantic love than on friendship, and there never seems to be enough time to do the kind of things the 13 year old me assumed the 30 year old me would be doing with a close circle of locally-based friends.
(on a related note, I had no clue, when I was younger, that the friends dearest to my heart would be scattered around the UK and occasionally abroad – I assumed, naively, that I’d live close enough to pop in to most of them.)
But though I’m still dubious about love at first sight, I know by heart the certainty of instant connection with a new friend. A soul who sees the world similarly, perhaps not in every single way, but definitely in the ones that matter.
Often it takes time to get to that connection – adding up odd comments to work out that you’re similar enough that you might want to spend time together, or repeatedly bumping into each other until you actually manage to pin down a time to have coffee.
But when you do manage to get together and talk – then magic happens.
As old friendships inevitably shift and change, and as part of you grieves for what you once had with those people, lost in the realities and changing priorities of adult life, it’s immeasurably good to know that as you get older, you’ll find more kindred spirits. People with whom you can be totally and unapologetically yourself.
Because the more you know yourself? The more you will attract likeminded people to share your space and your life*.
(*That probably goes for dating, too, but that’s definitely not my realm of genius!)