Friday, 18 March 2011

What makes a friend?

I was thinking today about friendship, wondering what it is that defines a friend. Is seeing someone every week, having a laugh and a bit of a chat together enough to say "yes, we're friends"? Or are you only "common and indifferent acquaintances" and in need of something extra to seal the bond of friendship? Do you need to know the intricacies of someone else's life to be a friend?

I have a couple of friends from university who I last saw 2 years ago. Before then, it was another 2 years since I'd seen them. What makes us stay friends despite so many years passing? That ability to "pick up where you left off". Is it shared experiences, memories, time?

I wondered this as I stood in the school playground this afternoon, dozens of friendly people to chat to, many of whom I'd spent a night or two in the pub with, but probably only two or three I felt I could actually call friends. The ones I knew I could ring to ask a favour without question or refusal.

I think I was feeling a bit sorry for myself, and nostalgic for the time I lived in London. Remembering the great friends I made when I had just had my son and felt isolated at home; remembering working in an office and having a social life!

I moved from London 4 years ago. I again had feelings of isolation that I had after the birth of my son, so I attempted to make friends straightaway. I went to toddler groups with my son, I started going to Church. I found it very difficult but I did eventually make a few good friends. I still feel, though, after 4 years, like I'm on the outside looking in.

Perhaps I need to make an effort to interact more. Maybe I need to be patient. Or, I should just be happy with the friends I have and work at building some good memories with them, that we can reminisce about in years to come.

Or maybe I should stop thinking so damn hard when I'm on the school run.


  1. I think its really good that you still keep in touch with your uni friends even if it only every 2 years or so. And you also have friends from school who you keep in touch with.
    Closer to home well it may depend on the community and even yourself. Some people have just one or two close friends others like to have lots of friends around them. You seem to be doing ok to me.

  2. I think its harder transitioning from 'friendliness' to real friendship as people get older. There's something about the need for a back history thst you just can't recreate immediately, although it dies come, eventually. I'm struck by how many friends, from both uni and since, return to their home area eventually and end up with their childhood friends (which again makes it harder to break into groups)


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