What makes for a lasting friendship?

The Oxford dictionary defines friendship as
Old ties of love and friendship and a state of mutual trust and support
We often romanticise about the perfect friendships.  Sex and The City to this day is one of my favourite shows.  Aren’t these gals just the perfect group?  I often play the game with my besties – who would you be?  Having been recently dubbed ‘the Carrie Bradshaw of Edinburgh’ you may be surprised to hear that Miss Samantha Jones comes up the most for me.  Why does nobody want to be Miranda?  I digress.

They say that if a friendship lasts 7 years then it shall last a lifetime.  If this is true then I feel very blessed to have some seriously special people in my life who are here with me to stay.  Great relationships with friends are undoubtedly an important factor in contributing towards our happiness and positive mental health.  What makes a friendship special?  I reflect over the friendships I have formed over the years.  I think about those I have known since I was 3 years old who I am still great friends with today.
I think of friends I met over the years at school, church, university, at work, through mutual friends, people I met travelling and friends I met when I became a Mum. Over the years we change.  We grow.  We find new interests.  People and experiences have an impact on us – for the positive or the negative.  Some friendships fade out and others grow together.  What makes a true friend to me?
Chemistry
Some people we just connect with don’t we? We just enjoy being in their presence.  Sometimes it is ‘friendship at first sight’.  Ask my closest friends how I met them for the first time and they will tell you I have a corny story.  I have a photographic memory.  I remember how they smiled when we first met or what they wore or had to eat.  I remember how they made me feel from excited in nursery and Sunday school to buzzing at school and university and in the workplace.
Flaws and all
We get a good feeling about someone, we click with them and we have a ball.  Over the years as we get to know that person we choose to take the whole package.  Flaws and all.  We want to bring out the best in them.  We can be honest with them because we care. We have earned the right to tell them how we feel.  We can be ourselves.  Sometimes this is hard and we might have to say things they don’t want to hear but we can be real.
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Loyalty
I think this is something that is learnt over time.  Girls especially can be catty – I am already dreading my little girl having friendship drama.  Do you remember the days in the playground where you had to chose a favourite friend?  Cringe.  It takes me back to those times that I wasn’t chosen – heart-breaking.  As I say girls can be mean.  The older I get the more I realise that it’s really not cool to talk about friends behind their back.  It is much cooler to sort any issues out face to face.  It is also much better to be open minded to seeing things from a new perspective. More often that not if someone is being a bit of a nightmare it is because they are not happy.  If they are not in a good place it is important for us to notice this and be there.
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Effort
With two young kids, a husband, a house to run, a marathon fast approaching and a freelance writing business it is safe to say I am the busiest I have ever been in my life.  My friends are all pretty super busy too.  I don’t take it personally if the weeks or months go by.  It is so easy for this to happen and I do believe with true friends that you just get right back to where you started.
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There does come a time though where you have to set some time aside.  Yes life is busy but we really need to fit that coffee in (or even better glass of wine).  We really need to go for a run together some time or sort that lunch out.  Being with our friends is good for us.  Pre kids my husband and I used to host parties constantly.  It worked in our favour being the hosts as we could invite anyone that was free and our friends became friends.
Love was also formed – bonus just call me Cilla.  After the kids our party house seriously bit the dust.  When we do have parties these days it tend to be a ‘day sesh’ that kicks off at 2pm and the kids join in the fun.  These times are always wonderful and I cherish them.

 

If you are a regular reader of my blog you will now understand that I am a people pleaser.  So it is no surprise that I have asked myself how I can be a good friend.  Making people happy makes me happy but I am far from perfect and I will slip up because I am human.  I strive to treat people the way I want to be treated myself.  Here is the type of friend I want to be –
A good listener – we all need to talk but we also need to listen.  We need to ask questions, take an interest and be a support.  You are only interesting if you are interested. Granted there will be times when someone needs to talk more than the other.
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Fun – I won’t always feel happy because sad things happen and such is life but as often as I can I want to laugh, to not take myself too seriously and to have fun with my friends.

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Open minded – I want to be slow to judge and open minded.  If a friend is not on form I am not going to get on at them for being a ‘negative Nora’.  I am going to make sure they are ok.
Kind – I want to be kind and to show my friends I appreciate them. We all appreciate acts of kindness in different ways as I have written of previously.  I know some of my friends love booze and that is the best gift I could give them #boozeandbanter.
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I got this for my friends really!
Others might prefer me to make them a nice coffee or a healthy snack and others might just want me to sit and listen (possibly whilst tickling their arm).  Kindness can be shown in many ways and it doesn’t always have to involve spending money.
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Friendship is a wonderful thing and I want to say a huge thanks to all the fun, crazy, weird and wonderful people in my life x

 

 

 

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