A few weeks ago an old school friend of mine had her first baby. We haven’t seen each other since we were 21 and she now lives in Australia, but thanks to the wonders of Facebook I was able to see the pictures of her new daughter. In fact we only got back in touch a couple of years ago after losing each others’ contact details when we finished university. That was thanks to FB as well. For all it’s faults that site has been responsible for me tracking down quite a few old friends (as was Friends Reunited in the old days!)
It started me thinking more about friendship and keeping in touch with people and made me realise I really don’t like losing friends. Not just in the physical sense obviously but by losing touch with people. At school my mum always despaired of me as no matter what certain friends did I would always remain loyal to them and refuse to hear a bad word against them. Looking back I’m not sure if it was misplaced loyalty or a fear of losing a friend but I know I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of people I have willingly lost touch with.
I consider myself very fortunate that I still have friends from my time at school, university and work. I now have friends made at playgroups and my children’s school. Some have become close friends and others are people I chat to in the playground but I value them all.
I love the fact that I have made friends on Twitter – people I may never meet but share an interest in TV, books, cats, a campaign or just general nonsense.
Some people seem able to move on through life making and discarding friends as they go with ease so why do I feel the need to cling on to them?
I’m sure a psychologist would say it was down to being an only child but I’m not convinced. I don’t use my friends as I would a brother or sister, I rarely ring them with my problems and am more likely to turn conversations onto them than about myself.
I think some of it stems from the death of a university friend in 2011. We weren’t best friends, I had only seen her a few times since leaving uni but we had kept in touch through the Internet and caught up a few times when she moved nearer to me. But I didn’t even know she was ill. Very few people did. One day an email from someone I had never met telling me she had cancer then less than a week later she died. Three weeks before Christmas. It made me want to contact all the friends I used to know but had drifted apart from, maybe subconsciously to check they were ok? I don’t know. All I do know is good friends are precious, whether you know them in real life or through a computer. You never know when you might need them – or they might need you.
‘Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one!’ C.S Lewis