Saturday, 2 November 2013

On Friendship


If I was to be completely, brutally honest with myself I would have to admit that I'm not a very good friend. Not because I'm evil, with no capacity for love; I'm just not naturally inclined to rely on friendships the way that some people do. I'm an inherently selfish person, who would rather stay at home than go visiting, with the result being that I often prove to be incredibly unreliable. I was even a rubbish friend to Mr Meaney back when that's all that we were. I wasn't there for him half as much as he was there for me.

In other words, I make plans and immediately begin thinking of a way that I can get out of them. I hate actively letting people down, but I find it difficult to force myself out of the house if it's just not something I want to do. Like I said: selfish.

When I see articles in magazines about 'maintaining and relying on female friendships', I always (unfairly) assume that the writer must have something missing from some other part of their lives and go on about my day. I don't know why that is, but I assume it has something to do with having sisters; I already have very close female relationships so I've never felt the need to fill that void. 

A lot of my friends are also male, which leads to a certain amount of complacency. Boys are lazy friends, which suits me just fine. I don't need to be in touch with them regularly for them to know that I'm there. I just need to occasionally invite them over for a beer and make the odd joke about tits and I know I'm not going to be forgotten about.

However, I do love my friends. Despite my apparent reluctance to make any sort of real commitment, I have actually chosen certain people to be part of my life without being the type to actively need them there for any sort of personal gain. So, even though I flake out on plans on a regular basis, I do class my friendships to be pretty special.

I have lost a good many friends in my lifetime, and I've let a lot of them go. There have also been people that I have found myself leaning on just a little too heavily at times and, perhaps not coincidentally, these tend to be the relationships that fizzle out (or, at times, explode with dying star ferocity). These are not the friendships that matter to me and I have never fought for them. Instead, I highly value the people who are in my life on a long term basis who are understanding about my inadequacies.

The friends who stick around are people who know better than to really expect a lot from me. They know that I'll be there for them if they really need me, but who don't expect me to pick up the phone just for a chat. They're people with whom I have common ground, but don't  rely on me to validate their own interests and passions. They're people who choose to have me around without needing me there.

My friends are varied in age, walks of life and experience. I know each of them through wildly different sources and many of them are sole survivors from larger groups that I have gradually distanced myself from; and I love each and every one of them more than they could ever know.

So, I guess what I'm saying is this: my wonderful and weird friends, I'm sorry I'm a bit shit and I'm incredibly grateful that you've stuck around regardless. You rock.

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