Don’t listen to me about this…

Investment 4: Friendship

Full disclosure: there’s no good reason at all to listen to my opinion on friendship. As a recovering workaholic, people pleasing emotional terrorist, I’m sometimes pretty surprised to find that I have any friends at all.

The only thing I can talk with any authority on is taking the time to notice how cool it is to have people in your life who don’t just tolerate the ridiculous/filthy/embarrassing things you say and admit to… they like you more for it.

That’s who you really like. The people you can think out loud in front of.

John Green

I’m not sure how the friends who I’ve known longest saw beyond my hardass persona and insecurities when I first met them. But I know I liked them because they didn’t seem to care. I’d swear like a sailor or regularly start crying for no apparent reason and they didn’t treat me any differently.

I know I’m around a true friend when I feel like I’m not a weirdo at exactly the same time as feeling like my weirdness is cool.

Freedom to be weird is one of the great hallmarks of friendship for me.

I often used to hear one of my friends before I saw him. He’d be singing Ella Fitzgerald as he glided down the stairs at our workplace early in the morning. I think that’s when I knew we’d be friends.

For me a friend isn’t comfort and reassurance. What I feel most around a true friend is the freedom to be weird/boring/naive/bad tempered/unpredictable/smug/idiotic… and completely unjudged.

Yesterday I spent 4 hours on the phone to a friend I’ve known for 20 years (another who I’ve known almost as long will be horrified… ‘what on earth can you talk about for 4 whole hours??’). I don’t know. The content is random. But by the end it always descends into Monty Python silliness.

Laughter, laughter, snort-embarrassingly-loudly laughter even in the tough times is another friendship hallmark.

I’ve made unexpected friends, lost friends, lost contact with loads of others (I’m the worst at staying in touch with people and suspect I can only really be friends with people who share my horror of texting and Facebook).

I’ve had amazing friends and been an awful one. I’ve broken up with a friend (way way way harder than breaking up with a lover). And in the end, all I know is that by accepting me exactly as I am (including not trying to pin me down to one identity), my friends have made me better at being me.

Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.

Muhammad Ali

Inspired by all of this talk of friendship awesomeness, I decide to put my money where my mouth is and send my Monty Python buddy a message saying ‘this might sound weird but thank you for being a really good friend’. His reply:

You’re right – it does sound weird. But you know what they say… nothing says thank you better than a Big Mac!

Notice your friends today… say thank you… don’t be surprised if you get a mercenary reply.

That’s why he/she is your friend

This isn’t what friendship looks like in my world but my friends are as selfie loathing as me so pretend I’m the one on the left
Photo by Elle Hughes on

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