I must admit, I am a bit fussy when it comes to friends. i like to suss them out first, you know, just observe, then maybe ‘try them out’ A bit like when I am deciding what colour to paint the wall. I slap on a few different shades/colours and live with it for a few days. I then pick which one I feel most happy with. At first I love it and am so please with myself that I definitely make the right choice. It goes so well with all of the furnishings in the room. Except does it, really go with everything. Is it fighting with the colours in the rug. Friends are a bit like that. What I mean is, for the most part we generally get on very well with our ‘Best Friends’, but there will be some aspects about them and us that we don’t necessarily ‘get on’ with.
My first friends came as a duo. They were sisters and I have known them forever. However, we were only babies when we first met. Our parents were neighbours, not next door neighbours, but around the corner neighbours. It was through them that our little trio was formed. You could say we were thrown together due to a set of circumstances that we had no control over. Our parents’ were not necessarily close friends, but in those days, some 50 odd years ago, there was a close community type of friendship among neighbours.
Anyway, thanks to them, our friendship was born and I am happy to say I would consider them as the ‘sisters I never had’, especially as I don’t have any ‘real sisters’, but I do have 2 brothers. I would therefore consider them ‘Kenzoku’, which is Japanese for Family, (not that I speak Japanese). I just thought I would educate myself and some of you with a new term from a different language! You are welcome ‘Vous etes les bienvenue’ (you are welcome in French). I am sad to say, I do not speak French either 😦
So what is a true friend? Well to me, it is a shared interest in some things, but not all things, having similar values and respecting each others points of view. You may not agree with all of their points of view, but respecting, accepting and supporting them is a good start. It is someone who will have your back when the chips are down and someone who will help you in your hour of need. It is honesty, loyalty and integrity. Someone to tell you the truth….If my bum does indeed look big in this, tell me. I can then decide whether to still wear it. In this RELAY SHUN SHIP relationship scenario, I can decide whether to wear it anyway, ditch it, or wear a longer jacket, but thank you for your honesty.
I think a true friend has no trouble being honest, but in a kind way, unless they are drunk, then they might insult you, in an endearing way…. hopefully….. The Sex and the City girls are a classic example of true friends. Yes I know I could have used the example of Friends the sitcom either, but I am biased and those 4 women were my once a week friends and I loved them and their friendship.
My next ‘true friend’ friendship came when I was 11 and at secondary school. I consider her Kenzoku too. We were so similar in many ways and even looked similar. Once our paths collided, in a natural way at school, that was it and to this day, we are still ‘besties’. The best thing about these type of friends is that, even though we hardly see each other anymore, because we don’t even live in the same country, we would be there for each other at the drop of a hot, literally. That is what family do isn’t it, they would drop everything for you if they needed you or you needed them. The years spent building the foundations, sharing experiences, laughs, tears, trouble, fights, time and space is enough to sustain the absences of the physical day to day contact. I love these friends like I do my children…… unconditionally.
Other friends we meet along the way of life or through our Best Friends. We are not exclusively each others, we may branch out and have more friends. There are some times though, that we may not necessarily ‘get on’ with our friends, friends. There may be nothing obviously wrong, you simply don’t connect and that is OK!
My best friend at school had other friends but they were not really my cup of tea. If she wanted to hang out with them, I would just go play, quite happily, two ball on the wall. By that I mean I would bounce two balls off a wall (tennis balls). I am digging myself a hole here, in case you thought I meant I played with two other type of balls….. certainly not – I went to an all girls catholic school 🙂
I really enjoyed playing two ball and it was a great game for co-ordination and memory. As you would hit a ball off the wall, in quick succession with the other one you would sing a tune e.g. ’10 boys names I really must know, so wish me luck and away I go’. A ball must hit the wall per word sang, so that was the rhythm. The next part was to sing then sing 9 girls names, 8 types of animals, 7 countries…… you get the drift. The skill of the ball throwing also got more difficult. At 9 girls names you would throw the ball up in the air (upsies). At 8 types of animals, you would throw them over arm at the wall, and as per each decending number of ‘topics’ you would throw the balls, underarm, slam the balls from the floor but it then must hit the wall (slamzies), under one leg, then the other, slamzies under one let then the other, straddle front ways and slam off the ground to the wall then straddle back ways and slam off the ground to the wall. You MUST catch the ball each time or you were out. If you were playing on your own like me, just start again from the beginning!
Being a contortionist would also have been a great help with some of the moves! I did manage to perfect the game as I had a lot of practice! So there are in fact, advantages as well as disadvantages in every relay shun ship, in that I still had fun, didn’t have to pretend to like the other girls and learned a few new skills along the way. I wasn’t mean about the other girls. I would just say I felt like playing two ball. They probably thought I was an odd ball, but that’s OK too!
Other friends I have now, I have met through my varied studies, groups I have joined or jobs. I have a few circle of friends. It is amazing how you can meet one person though and through that friendship, grow a bigger circle. I met a really nice girl when I decided to study Beauty Therapy. I was fast approaching 40, which I know, seems a bit old to be studying beauty and there is a back story, but that is for another time – maybe.
Anyway looking around the class at all the (mainly) young, school leavers, there was a girl who caught my eye. Not a school leaver but not an almost 40 year old either, but nearer to my age than theirs. The usual ice breaker at the beginning of a new ‘adventure’ had begun and it was the usual, ‘ Hi my name is X and I have always wanted to be a beauty therapist’ routine. When it came to me I said, ‘Hi, my name is Carrie and I have NEVER wanted to be a beauty therapist’. (I completed the course, as I am no beauty school drop out)! The girl who caught my eye, impressed me with pursuing her dream of becoming a beauty therapist. She had given up her life, lock stock and barrel and left a good job to do it. She was my kind of woman. I had, on a few occasions walked away from my life, lock stock and barrel too and jumped in feet first to things. That too is another story!
We both found employment at the same world renowned spa and it was there that we met another girl and befriended her. She was funny and the most laid back person I had ever met. Younger than both of us, but we were young at heart. They decided to look to house share and it was during that time, we met another girl who knew ‘our friend’ from a previous work place. The three of them moved in together. When I first met her, she was very wary of me as she thought I was ‘abrupt’ and was a little scared of me. Fear not, I am not really that scary, but I can be direct and yes, I suppose abrupt, but only when the need arises! I wasn’t too sure about her either. I felt we had nothing much in common, except my other two friends. I could see she was professional, focused, driven and a go getter, but there just did not seem to be a shared connection.
Fast forward a few years and lots of events and parties later, we became more connected and realised that we were not as bad or scary as we first thought. It was through her I met another another couple of her friends, one she used to work with and went to school with and the other was her current work colleague and friend. She and I had much in common, like we were both born and had lived in the UK. Both had our own children and step children and both knew the challenges of fitting in to a new Country. We hit it off straight away. As she puts it herself ‘she would love to have a friend like herself’ and she is absolutely right. She is funny, warm open minded and isn’t afraid to open her heart. Aren’t these the qualities we look for in a friend. A bit of give and take, some consideration and an acceptance to value the things we do like in each other and ignore the things we don’t!