Friends are everything to me because I don’t come from a close family. We are awful at communicating with one another and visits to see one another are made more out of sense of duty than a genuine desire to be in one another’s company. To me, your best friends are the ones who see you at your worst, like when you’ve had far too much to drink on a night out and need looking after. They are the people who know you so well, that the first thing they do when they walk into your kitchen is put the kettle on and make themselves a cup of tea (and you can do the same at their house). They don’t care if your hair isn’t brushed and you’re still wearing your pyjamas at midday when they come to call.
They are the people who you can be yourself with and say anything to, knowing they will take it the right way. True friends are the ones who won’t be offended if you don’t call them for weeks; they understand that you both lead busy lives and they know that you will catch up eventually.
I had a visit from one of my best friends this weekend. We have known one another for years and years, meeting at a baby group when our kids were tiny. Over the past decade or so we have become firm friends, looking after one another’s children, going to countless social events together, even holidaying together. I had been feeling down all week – that dreaded black dog on your shoulder, that makes you irritable with those you love best – so I rang her up on the spur of the moment and asked her to come visit. We had a lovely weekend, taking a picnic to a local beauty spot so we could enjoy the sunshine with our children. We flew kites, took my crazy, young dog for a walk and ate ice cream. In the evenings we played Scrabble and drank wine and relaxed in one another’s company. As the weekend came to an end, I realized that my world was sunny again and I felt much more ready for the stressful week ahead.
So many of us don’t live near our families, so never underestimate the value of friendships. Mine have become a much needed support group!