Friendships cannot be hastily built for they are something to be nurtured and encouraged. These sorts of relationships develop slowly and should, when the foundations of trust, love and mutual respect are cemented, be something that will last us a life time if we are one of the lucky few. Friendships are to be enjoyed but just like every relationship, they are hard work. They can be as complicated as they are rewarding and you need to take great care with them as bonds like these can become your home-made chicken soup.
Friendships allow you the comfort of a warm place to lay your heart, your soul and your head and when there, this should be a place to feel safe, appreciated and loved. When life and all that goes along with it leaves you a little battered and wind swept, you know this is the one place you can hunker down at for a while until the storm passes.
You will learn to understand that your true friends will be those who you know will stand up for you no matter what the cost. They do not hold you back and they do not tear you down. Loyal friends do not ostricise or ignore you and they certainly do not shun you because they feel they have to fit in with others for their own self preservation. Friends should have the mindfulness not listen to others but instead listen to their own hearts and live by their own ideals and convictions. Along with this you should find that true friends support you and when you tell them something in the strictest of confidence, that is exactly how it remains.
Very sadly however, friendships can have a much darker side. I don’t think there is anyone who has not suffered the effects of losing what you thought was a friend especially when that friend betrays you in the worst possible way. With the gentlest of hands you give them something. You have offered something so valuable that you believe you can entrust this one and only person with it. But in return for your trust, they betray you. And know this – the worst betrayal you will suffer will never come from your enemies.
I am doing much soul searching at the moment about friendships and their cost. These are very difficult and distressing times at present too so overall things are quite hellish. I guess sometimes life brings you to a seemingly impassable wall which you do not believe you can ever overcome. It will seem an almost insurmountable task to get over this hurdle but you know you must either navigate around it, go over it or you have to go through it because you cannot just stand there and stare at it for it will not go away.
I love this incredible image. It is the acclaimed Southern chef Edna Lewis and cookbook author Marion Cunningham (not the Happy Days Mrs C. either) and it depicts what I consider to be the essence and beauty of a true friendship. There is laughter, love, ease, comfort of conversation and true joy between these two women……
It is the ultimate Holy Grail because if you find that, you find everything!
Now I am NO expert on friends and friendships because I will very honestly state that I am not a good friend! In fact, I’m a pretty rotten friend to have and I know and acknowledge that. I don’t stay in touch with people, it is rare that I contact people and I don’t look for friends. I am also very solitary in that I love my own company and I never get lonely. I am fiercely independent and I protect my privacy and myself. I never get bored therefore I never have the inclination or desire to constantly seek people out. I’m low maintenance, I don’t need to be entertained and nor do I like entertaining others! Writing, as you can probably imagine, is one of the most solitary of crafts and happily, it appears to be the perfect fit for me.
Frankly, given all that I have put out there about myself, I would not want to be friends with me either. One thing I do know however is that if you value someone as your friend or a friendship, you should fight for it when things go pear shaped….and sometimes they do. Perhaps someone will come along and they will see that you have something they desperately crave. You have something precious which they have never had and they will do anything to take it from you. Fueled by their own insecurities and jealousies, they will begin a campaign to do all that they can to discredit you and exclude you. Finding yourself in that situation is difficult and devastating because the interloper is manipulative and sly and they are working very hard to destroy not only the relationships you have built with others but also you! and all whilst scurrying about on thick, water retentive bandy legs.
And sadly, you may have allowed this to happen. Okay, I allowed it to happen because foolishly I always see the good in a person even when that person shows me exactly who they truly are! I ignored the very clear warning signals and I now know that instead of letting someone destroy things, I should maybe have fought a little harder.
Sometimes too, when the bottom falls out of a friendship you just have to be the one who swallows their pride, steps up and says ‘I know we are no longer friends but I wish one of us was brave enough and not so bloody pig headed to do something about it’. If you believe some friendships are worth it, then fight for them because when they are gone, they are gone forever! They can never be restored or replaced and nothing in that relationship will be the same again – just as the betrayal of trust can never ever be salvaged.
Life has a funny way of working itself out though and although it is difficult to keep your faith in humanity at times, know that all will be okay. It really is going to be okay. Very luckily I have some amazing and wonderful people in my life who are true, beautiful and good and for that, I am truly grateful. Those numbers are small but significant because they represent love and care (which is mutual) and that in itself is huge. These small few are the only people I would ever want as my chicken soup.
I long ago discovered that it is always best to be very grateful for what you have and for what you have lost for that matter. When you are thankful for what you have you will always see that you have so much more. When you are constantly chasing something or someone you will never be content because you will always be needing to fill a gaping hole in your life.
And I have also very happily discovered maple and ginger biscuits (cookies to non Australians) and this I believe, will be the start of very long and beautiful friendship… xx