There are some people that are just gold dust. You could be walking around the town without your head screwed on and they’d be the first to notice and tell you ‘dude, you look lost’. They have this marvellous habit of finding you. Particularly when you didn’t even realise you were wandering. I know not all those that wander are lost – Lord of the Ring told me as much. But you need those people in your life that notice when you’re moodily staring into space in the cocktail bar. They ask you if you’re okay even when they probably know you’re not but they know you need to hear yourself say the words. ‘I am not okay’.
We all need that ‘I am not okay’ safe space friend.
Having your mum or dad or sister on speed dial is one thing. Having your old primary school best friend across the world might not cut it anymore. But your person – some version of a platonic soul mate maybe – needs to be there to recognise and truly see you. To listen to you and actually hear what you’re saying. Who counts down the days to your birthday so that they can give you really thoughtful presents and a card that will make you cry.
Then when you get the heart emojis in response and feel your heart grow six sizes because friendship is truly something that no one should be without. I firmly believe that you can live without a lover or partner. You can’t live without friends. Honestly, you can’t. it’s the moments when you all get tipsy before the club and they slur and ask if you know that you made them cry with the present. As if you didn’t bottle that feeling when you saw the response and indebt it to memory thereafter.
You know what the greatest compliment on earth is in this day and age, in 2019?
It’s not ‘you look hot in that dress’, or ‘nice indoor plants’, or even ‘love your artisanal collection of stationary’. No, the greatest compliment is always received when you’re at your best friend’s house having dinner with their family on a Tuesday night in summer. It’s when her mother announces that you are now part of the family. It also means that you technically have to do the dishes once a week now, but you don’t care about that just at the minute. This is a very loaded moment.
Arguably, this is the first time that the relationships you have been forming outside of your family for the first time are actually coming to fruition. And they are working. These bonds, they’re being validated. Basically, before I start getting too nostalgic here, the confirmation that your best friend’s family loves you is one of the best things on the planet.
If I could bottle that feeling and keep it forever, I would. Don’t try me.
Now, when we make likeminded, adult friendships we have new considerations. We still need hobbies and mutual interests like when we were younger, but that’s not the be all or end all. Unlike when we were younger, we make our own schedules now, not our mum. We have to arrange the play dates ourselves! This means we have to prioritise people over work, leisure and down time in order to test the friendship threshold and see how much of your time and effort you are willing to commit. Usually, it’s worth the added effort in the early stages. Then, even if you don’t quite click like you thought you might, you know with plenty of time to spare – not wasting time that way. Nonetheless, that isn’t to say that the business for finding friends should be pragmatic or logical or efficient – it’s generally most successful when it’s anything but!
Moreover, it’s the old saying – opposites attract.
This is true of lovers and this is true of friendships too. Sometimes you need a healthy amount of distance and different to keep things interesting and to stop you both from merging into each other. That’s no use to anyone! Ideally, you would have the perfect blend of a headstrong and impulsive individual with a more reserved, careful character – with various other attributes in between – so that you can learn to let loose with each other and be goofy, while also being able to plan trips and have a responsible time. Get you a best friend that can do both!
The funny thing is, we don’t even need to have known them all that long, and they certainly don’t need to be your oldest friend to render them your closest friend. People change and grow up in different directions, and that’s perfectly fine. Indeed, it’s generally when people start to mature and figure out what it is that they actually want or demand in a friendship that allows new, robust friendships to be forged more efficiently than in our pre-pubescent years when we didn’t know which way was up.
Then you come over slouching through the town in your pjs and arrive at their doorbell and give a little tilt of the head and a grimace as you enter the threshold.
You sit on the sofa and take the blanket and let her talk at you for a few hours while Gilmore Girls plays on in the background.
She is reticent to let you walk home but you decide the air will do you good and you need a bed you recognise. She trusts you and prays for you. The next few weeks she sticks to you like glue and doesn’t leave you alone in the best way. When you come back from the funeral she scoops you straight to a café to talk it through and clears the day. You realise a month after that that you don’t know what you would have done without her. probably gone home and not come back. Who knows.
Love that for us. Go on, give your best friend a call and remind them how much you love ‘em.