Sunday 23 September 2007

Friends- The Most Important Thing We Have

It has always been my belief that there is one thing in life that you just can't put a price tag on.

Not acquiantances, or work colleauges, or drinking buddies.
The real type. The ones who will be there, no matter how your life changes, or theirs does.

The friendships that are more than just short term alliances, based on current circumstances.
The friendships that are based on the fact that you always will be, deep down, kindred spirits. People who see the world the same way and want the same things from life.

I think these sorts of friends are rare. In fact I'd go further- a lot of people don't really have friends of this type, and that's a shame really.
Because if you have friends like this, you don't need much else.

In this, I guess, I'm lucky. I've posted before on two of the three closest people to me, but oddly, not on the one who's probably closest of the lot.

I have known The Baker for ten years- we met at University. We had a lot in common- both closer to a surviving grandparent, than our parents, both people who had a 'try everything once, you only live once' outlook.
Over our time as students we discovered ourselves, but only because we mutually supported eachother on that journey.

In some sense, embracing life to the full, can be dangerous. Releasing yourself from the framework of acquired societal morals is a bit like playing Russian Roulette.
But in doing so, you actually learn through your mistakes. You learn through experience what the REAL rights and wrongs are, because you learned the hard way.

Looking back, some of the things we did then, were downright stupid and irresponsible.
But I don't regret any of it.

The amusing thing was, there two schools of thought.
One school of thought (incuding The Baker's grandfather) was that I was a terrible influence on The Baker, that otherwise he'd be a sensible, moderate hard working student.
The other school (including my grandmother) reversed those roles.

The reality of course, was that we encouraged eachother. We would carry on, where others would stop. We continuously pushed the boundaries, wanting to see what lay beyond.

Of course, we were young and naive then.

Over the years, we have moved on from the complete recklessness that characterised the pair of us at that age.
Both of us have developed our own sense of right and wrong, and life in the real world has taught us some sense.

But our shared experience of life, our similarities in outlook have meant that we have reached the closing years of our twenties with a closeness that is, perhaps, uncommon.

We can talk to eachother about things that most people would not talk to their partners about.
The discussions we have are all the more valuable, because they descend from ten years worth of conversation- there's so much that doesn't need to be said, because it's already been said.
I don't think there's anything that has appeared in any of my posts, which I haven't already debated with The Baker.

We live a hundred miles apart, but still spend on average, two weekends a month in eachother's company. It's the sort of friendship that is so close, that people often jump to the wrong conclusions about it.

I guess we can never really say we understand anyone apart from ourselves, because we have all followed different life paths and are all composed in slightly different ways.
But when we have people who know our opinions before asking, who know what we want before we ask it, who never think ill of us, no matter what we do, because they know us well enough to be able to understand us even we are wrong, we have something precious.

Precious, because if you don't have anyone you can be totally yourself with, someone you can actually discuss your darkest fears with, you can never know yourself, or value yourself.

Friends really are priceless.


Anonymous said...

I know and would like to say that I am friends with a hell of a lot of people. I would move on from there to suggest that perhaps I know too many people and have in fact spread myself too thin for a real friendship to develop. But out of all scores of people I know, only two of them come anything close to the type of friendship you are talking about. I have known them both for well over 10 years and our friendship is one of the most important relationships in my life. Sometimes we are so close that we're not really individuals and we take on a true group mentality. People on the outside of our friendship think we're quite weird when we're together as it's like we have or own 'speak', and we do. But it's not strange to us.

Sorry that was quite rambling. But your right, that kind of friendship is invaluable.

Anonymous said...

Good post - you are obviously feeling better! I think you may have said before - but I forget - why the name 'The Baker'?

Anonymous said...

I have been an army kid all my life so friends have come and gone. Even as an adult I can be friends with everyone and strike up some close friendships, but I never expect them to last.
I crave the type of friend you describe..I do have some old old pals that have kept in touch over the years and I guess we are 'close' but I don't have that special stuff with anyone at the moment (I'm new to my town)...and I miss it so much.

Anonymous said...

Crushed, you're right, besides Mr. H I have one close girlfriend, and we've been each other's rock and peace. I value these friendships dearly, because I have lost so many other friendships and refuse to live in that emotional vacuum that living without a bold friend is. Glad you're dwelling on this.

Anonymous said...

You are lucky you have a friend like that. I have never met anyone that supportive.

Anonymous said...

I have been friends with my one TRUE friend for 30 years. We email virtually every day and go on a weekend trip together once a year. But for my brother there is no-one as close and it's great to be able to reveal darkest fears and have them torn apart before your eyes.

Anonymous said...

You have a lovely looking eye, Helen.

Anonymous said...

I agree. One thing I've found, however, is that real friends depend more on our situations than I would have liked to think.

Thirteen years of progressive illness gradually killing off your ability to do things, then making you housebound, then semi bedridden - you lose a lot of people you would have thought of as real friends when you go over ground that rough. Not all. But most.

Anonymous said...

It's good that you have these three friends but more importantly that you recognize the true value in their friendship. Men often consider their drinking buddies and the people they hang out with friends but a deeper connection is required for true friendship. People you can count on through thick and thin. You are indeed fortunate.

Anonymous said...

Oestrebunny- I think it's the bizarre phrases and expressions that only you have, the jokes only you get.
Also, you know their advice means something, they know you in some ways better than you know yourself- because they are objective.

Mutley- He works for a bakery, though not actually baking. He has a lot of fun checking that buns have the right amount of cherries in them, etc.

Betty- It's essential to me, in many ways.
Otherwise, you truly are an island, or a ship passing in the night.
You need people who will ALWAYS form a part of your life.

I do anyway. Some things I wouldn't do without approval from those close to me.

Helen- It would be a vacuum, yes.
For me, especially, an intellectual vacuum. In this case, a large part of the friendship is based on mutual ability to follow thought patterns ten years in the making.

But also, frankly, social occasions tend to be better for his presence.

Nessa- In ten years we have each let eachother down on occasion. Twice we've argued.
On the second we locked ourselves in his flat till we could work out what it was we were arguing over.

That took about eight hours.
But these things are important.

E-K- This guy is closer than my brother, who I see perhaps twice a year.
But it Is refreshing to really open up the darkest things in your mind and feel reassured having done so.

Paul- I agree. Hardship makes you realise who your real friends are.
I went through a situation where I learned who were the real friends and who were the fair weather ones a few years back.
In some ways, I'm glad of that.

Anonymous said...

jmb- Your true friends, for a man, are the ones you can cry in front of.

But also, they are the ones who make you like yourself, because you realise, you must be doing something right.

Anonymous said...

Lovely post, Crushed. I'm glad you have this with The Baker. I think the people we were with at uni with are special - and if they were good friends then, you can pick up with them later and even when you are knocking 60 [believe me!] it is as if there has been no gap. I do think friendships between women can be more complicated, as those who have had children can never understand those of us who haven't.

Anonymous said...

True friends are so few and far between.... we all think we know them before the time comes when knowing them is vital... and yet we often don't...
... what one would do in life without friends I do not know.

Anonymous said...

I especially like the last 3 paragraphs. Sums it up. I can think of one friend I have like that. And even one is enough. ;-) And now wish I might find one of the opposite sex... now that's a relationship that might have long-term potential...:-)