A few months back Jane Fonda surprised me, whilst sitting alongside her best girlfriends as they chuckled and shared their emotions. Why? Because few do. Few faces in the public eye are outspoken about the importance of true friendships.
Intimate partnerships, boyfriends, girlfriends and marriages can come and go in our lives. And yet many friendships, just like family, can take you through your lifetime. Here’s just 3 things I’ve learnt from those special men and women in my life.
Loyalty, or trust is at the heart of any great relationship. It’s the most incredible element that takes a friendship from someone in your life you walk the distance with, to someone you share everything with. When you find those connections, it changes all your friendships. When you can hand on heart say you know they’ll stick by you through the tough times and when they see you behave poorly. When you know that if someone else asked them about you, they’d have your back. They’re the special ones. And you’d do the same for them. You’re not blinded. But you understand where their heart is, and you know, as you are, that they are human. We make mistakes. We mess up. But that in fact is what makes us who we are, and we have to love all of ourselves, and want our friends, like our family to feel the same.
Those moments, when you can’t do it alone. When you need them. When you need to hear their wise words, or simply just to be in their company. To observe you. To share that moment. To see you. To help you make that decision or when you just want to share something, cry or laugh. They are the ones, that always make the time. They pick up the call, rarely divert. They’d leave a meeting. They’d travel across the City, cancel stuff just to be with you. As you would for them. No questions asked. They know, that if it’s been important enough for you to ask, then it’s important enough for them to be with you.
The medicine of laughing, is best shared. It’s not just the difficult times, but sharing joy with best friends, is like doubling the dosage of happiness. We don’t all have the same sense of humour, and so when that connection is made, you can’t beat it. When you are celebrating goodness in life, having someone who’s with you all the way, and observes this with you, makes it all the more better. Those moments when you know them so well that they are tickled by a look, comment or happening. It’s the best feeling.
I’ve been incredibly lucky to have best friends in my brother’s and sister. So from a young age, I’ve understood that connection. My neighbour Debbie and I would sit in our tree for hours and hours, write endless letters and post them through each other’s post boxes, sit and sing Simon and Garfunkel out of the window to the stars. And as time has moved, I’ve met incredible men and women from different parts of the World, who, even though we aren’t in each others lives on a daily basis, I feel the same about them, as I do, those I share my life with.
It’s not always women. The male friendships can be just as strong. And when you’re not the dominant woman in their lives, there is a different connection. But these bonds, they are appreciated for the importance they carry.
Some women contain their friendships in numbers. Mine, all give me different qualities at differing times. The 3 things above are what transcendents all of them. We form roles, as we do with any relationship. Those I support more, those who support me, those who challenge me, those who lift my spirit.
I’ve so many memories I could share. Being supported through relationship breakdowns, walking to Everest, cycling across Italy, countless hockey matches, working through moments of madness, celebrating decades, travelling to far flung places. Whatever the occasion, every moment is strengthened when joined by my best mates. Seeing them get married, have children, struggle with life, dance all night, grow and develop. Isn’t it wonderful. And each time it feels more special. Each time I feel more privileged.