It was quite a few years ago that I read a piece by Rebecca Sparrow called “I had a baby and became a crap friend.” It was relevant to me because at the time I had a 2 month old baby but I since I was still in that newborn hazy, dazy bubble of baby powder it didn’t resonate with me until much later and I often now think of that article and would suggest it could also be called “I have a toddler and so I’m a crap friend” or even “I became obsessed with podcasts and so never ring my friends and so I’m a crap friend.”
I’ve been thinking about friendships a lot lately. A recent school reunion (30 years no less – what a bloody privilege to be able to celebrate that) was a crazy, retrospective night where we were reminded how easy friendships were in the 80’s. No social media, no bullying, no bullshit. We just rolled up our school skirts and got on with it.
Remember the days of the old school yard, we use to laugh a lot.
I have friendships that are 30 years old and some that are 3 months old. Though between work and toddlerhood and everything in between, I have felt lately, well, a bit at sea. Floating, not drowning but trying to figure the whole balance thing out, even though I am a firm believer that balance is actually a myth. I was speaking to a friend the other day and she very unnecessarily apologised to me for not being in touch more often. Life just gets in the way and this friendship is one of those that picks up wherever it is left off from. She is awesome and our friendship is both uncomplicated and natural.
And that’s a good thing, when you have a friendship that no matter what stuff is happening, it is a friendship that matters regardless, a friendship that is like balm to the soul. To celebrate these friendships and to write about what makes them work I wrote a friendship manifesto of sorts and so it goes something like this:
- I will always try to be one of those friends that is easy to be friends with.
- I won’t always succeed at this but we will still be friends.
- You won’t always be easy to be friends with but that’s okay, it just means we are even.
- If you ring me, and I can’t pick up it’s probably because I’m dealing with some work thing or dealing with some toddler thing. Both are legitimate reasons for not picking up.
- Sometimes you will do this and it won’t matter because I know you will ring me back whenever. You might actually forget to ring me back and I’ll probably forget that I rang you in the first place. None of this will mean anything. We are still friends.
- If I see a bunch of missed calls from you I will worry and so I will drop everything to ring you back.
- I will sometimes unload on you and act like a moron and then I will forget to ask you how you are. You won’t think I am a horrible person for being so self centred.
- When it all gets too real and something awful happens, I will be there regardless of the time or the circumstances. I will show up.
- I will never let anyone say anything bad about you. I will always back you.
- Even if you do something really bloody stupid, it’s because we all make mistakes, and I will still back you.
- The person who had the least amount of sleep the night before wins. The other person has to buy the coffee and provide the empathy.
- If I am dealing with some husband/client/toddler crisis you will let me cry, confess, laugh or moan and you will take my side.
- Even when I’m wrong you will think that I am right.
- If I tell you that I think my four year old is a child genius you will put me straight.
- If I tell you that my four year old is driving me freaking crazy you will tell me that “this too shall pass” but you will also pour the wine whilst dishing out this useless, crappy (but true) advice.
- You will remind me that the days are long but the years are short and you will keep pouring.
- I will do #15 and #16 for you.
- We don’t have to talk every day, week or even every month and that is perfectly acceptable.
- If I send you a Christmas card but you don’t send me one that’s also acceptable. My obsession with stationery knows no bounds.
- Wherever we are, we will always find our way back to each other.
- I might laugh at your parenting decisions but never will I judge. Vice versa.
- I couldn’t care less if you have children or not. This status does not define us.
- I will always talk you down from the ledge even if I have no clue what I’m doing either. I will then text you a hundred times to tell you everything is going to be okay.
- You won’t roll your eyes and mutter “FFS!!” when I suggest you listen to the latest podcast I’ve been listening to.
- You understand that I’m probably not ever EVER going to turn up on your doorstep with a lasagne and you don’t befriend me because of this. I will however bring always bring hope and cake.
- And wine. I will bring wine.
- When we first become friends, and you make dinner and it’s a thai beef salad, I will eat this even though I haven’t eaten red meat in more than 15 years. I will admit this a year later and you will think I’m an idiot.
- If you don’t tag me on Facebook but tag another friend I won’t be offended.
Friendship is effortless and without drama. Friendship is joyous and lovely but it should also withstand the challenges that life throws us. Not only should it withstand them but should be the reason why we get through the grey days. When life is busy tossing you around like a salad you need your friends. It’s not about perfection, forget perfect, it’s about the ability to be your vulnerable self, no filters, no fears. With friends you don’t have to be brave you just have to be.
And as a very stylish and wise woman once said “They say nothing lasts forever, dreams change, trends come and go, but friendships never go out of style.” – Carrie Bradshaw.