Hopefully we all have them, some have them in great numbers, others are content with one or two.
I had thought I knew what a friend was until I was part of a discussion recently, where a fairly sizable number spoke of having at least one friend who is all take and no give. I was surprised by the number who had such friendships, especially those who knew the relationship was only one way.
So what do I think a friend is?
Well for me it’s very simple.
It’s not about the socialising… which I thoroughly enjoy with all my friends.
It’s not about the amount of time we spend together… some of my friends I spend very little time with.
It’s not about our similarities… many of my friends are very different to myself.
It’s not about how often they phone me or call by…some of my oldest, dearest friends live abroad.
It’s not about how good they are at keeping in touch… some of them are rubbish and vice verse.
So what is it?
It is the fact that I know beyond a shadow of doubt, that every one of my friends would go the extra mile for me. If I and not Daniels mum, had had to move to a hospital in Dublin with a sick child for eleven months, I know that each one of my friends would gather about and look after my family in my absence.
How do I know?
Because when I was at school they were there.
When my father was ill and dying, they held my hand as I cried and helped me up when I fell down.
When life got beyond difficult as I pursued my abuser they walked beside me.
When Danny became ill they kept a close eye on me.
It’s easy to be there when all is good in our lives, but it’s when darkness comes our true friends arrive, bringing just enough light to help you through. Those are the friends to hold close. Those are what I believe to be real friends.
To my many dear friends, those I see daily or occasionally, those living abroad and of course you who I’ve recently reconnected with after so long, thank you for sharing my life to date.