Variety is the spice of life! Our best friends arrive in our lives at all kinds of different times, for different reasons, and this should be celebrated, writes Daisy Hickey …
Women are able to form unique bonds with every other woman they know, and play a different role for every lady in their life. Each girlfriend-bond formed creates a bespoke type of joy, relief, relatability and support, pulling us together for completely different reasons – mutual motherhood, good-time-gallivanting, schoolday-sisterhood, or sometimes, platonic love at first sight, in other words, a girl crush!
This superhuman code-switching isn’t a bad thing at all – it means all women end up benefiting from a rainbow of sisterly bonds. Sometimes you need the Gal from Back Home (OrWayBackWhen) to give you a stern talking-to about your self-destructive habits – of which she knows more about than your own mother does. You know you’d do the same. Other times, you need the School Run Hun, who you might have only met a couple of years ago at pick-up time. With her, you can have an eye roll and a laugh over coffee about both your rascals, and all your hassles, lightening each other’s loads.
Maybe, you only play one role – maybe, you play them all, and all at once! Which best friend are you – and to whom?
Since knee socks and hockey sticks, you’ve known her. Although she has highlights now, and/or a manicure, and/or a job, and/or a Masters – you still see her with her ponytail and Jansport backpack, trotting along in her little Clark’s loafers.
Our school friends are so important because they remind us of how far we’ve come. We met them when we began to learn about how to be a friend – and maybe, they watched us make mistakes in that department … And forgave us, because we watched them! Growing together through the most awkward stages creates something like a solid covenant.
They hold all of our most sensitive memories in their heads! We met them when we knew nothing about what we wanted from ourselves or from others, and, slowly, we taught each other what we deserve. Stories from school have the unique quality of making us ache with cringe but double up in laughter, so schoolfriends do the same.
You are watching from the sidelines as your tiny baby, who was honestly a day old the last time you checked, develops at a disturbing pace into a beautiful, little, large, literal, human. It’s terrifying and delightful, and as this new being shuffles into the schoolyard, you look around, and are comforted to find that another mum is as baffled as you are.
The wild, mundane, tragic and euphoric adventure of motherhood is best experienced with a fellow beleaguered woman who, prior to the beginning of this school term, was a total stranger. Maybe the only thing in common between you two is the babies you have – but isn’t that more than enough?
Soon you not only know this lady’s coffee order, but the phone numbers of the GPs they use, what kind of milk they keep in their fridge, and how they figure out the Sex Questions you’re being asked, among other vital parenting strategy. This is, unbeknownst to you, an ancient information-sharing practice that has gone on between women for aeons, and a foundation for a lifelong bond. Suddenly, a friendship hath grown, from the seeds of the needs of another person – your child – as opposed to your own needs, and yet, it yields such lovely fruit …
Usually, blooms require sunshine, but some of nature’s most bountiful growths flourish in stormy weather.
A friend with whom you have experienced darkness, is a friend you find hard not to trust. Having seen one another at their worst, such friends are not fearful of tears, or squeamish about feelings. Grief, or illness, or heartbreak, or trauma – these things are unwelcome as they wipe out joy in our lives, but are of some use, in that they enhance our empathy, and shine a light on those women in our lives who very simply, were there for us.
Maybe we worry, sometimes, that we aren’t … enough for our friends. We think that there are traits we just don’t have, or social abilities lost on us. However, while being funny, or clever, or glamorous, or courageous, are all great things to be as a friend – but to be a really great friend, just being THERE, is best.
Nostalgia is an addictive and dangerous substance. In large doses, it sends us into the past and sticks us there stubbornly. When we get drunk on nostalgia, we can’t see all of the lovely life that exists now, that didn’t, back then.
But, in small doses, nostalgia brings a beautiful buzz! We all had our golden years, and doesn’t it feel swell to suspend yourself in the memory, in the company of those that were there too?
Women make some of their greatest friends during times of their greatest happiness. They were younger, braver, dumber – maybe you had more time on your hands, maybe the economy was doing well. Maybe international travel was possible, or you hadn’t yet signed a lease, or you’d passed that exam. For whatever reason, the friends from that happy time you think of have that incredible gift to beam back into your life on a ray of sunshine, and remind you of better days. They show up at your door with a bottle of wine, and you don’t stop smiling until they leave. Until next summer, sis!
You see her from across a crowded function – and notice you’re both in matching outfits. She was seated next to you on the work trip from hell – but soon, you’re thick as thieves across the aisle. When you’re introduced, you find you both dated the same man – and later find, you both dropped him, for the same reason. Whatever the circumstance, we all have a queen in our lives whose moves mirrored ours at a strange point in our existence, with whom we just … click.
From the utterly random moment at which your paths ended up crossing, you’re inseparable. The pair of you agree on most things, from taste, to dating, to work. She’s a wonderful soundboard, with wise suggestions, and simultaneously great craic. It is the closest thing either of you have come to love at first sight, except it’s utterly platonic and twice as romantic. You organise one-on-one dinner or drinks with her because her brains are great to pick, and actually also because you have no mutual friends in common. Other than that eejit you dated, that is.
So, which Friend are you? Ask your friends!
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