Friends like these…

When I was growing up, I struggled to have good friends. It seems to be hard-wired into a girl’s nature to think one should only have a Best Friend and no need for any one else. Or, at least, that’s how it was for me. I had a host of ‘best friends’ one after the other, and was happy, until they all found someone better to hang out with… or, in one case, found life too difficult… and opted out.
But, over the last ten years or so, I have found myself surrounded with some of the most beautiful people. When I started University, I realised I wasn’t that hard to love – at least, not always. And my current Best Friend is someone I met in the very next room to me on my first night in halls. I have many friends from Uni still, most of them not necessarily the people I knew best while I was there, but who I love dearly…. and Facebook has brought me back in touch with a lot of the people who really made a difference but with whom I lost touch.
The friends I see most often, though, are newer friends. My London Friends. And even these, I realise with a jolt, are people I have known for over 7 years. I can’t list them here, I don’t think I need to, but I just spent a lovely weekend with them all. After Uni, the best thing that happened to me was a chance meeting in a pub with the Best Man – which moved me to London where I met the Husband and my Brother in Law (neither of which had those titles at the time, that would be weird). Then, after a year in North London, we advertised for more housemates on Gumtree and found the American and the Journalist. We were incredibly lucky, or God was watching out for us, because when we advertised for housemates, we found life-long friends. Family. And now, years down the line, the group has grown, to include former Uni friends on the Husband’s side (now friends in their own right, of course) and girlfriends and husbands and other significant others… and suddenly I have a group of friends who I really could turn to in an hour of need… but also who are excellent fun to drink with.
I feel immensely privileged to be able to grow up with these people, and grow old. A few years ago, it wouldn’t have been our choice to spend a weekend in the suburbs walking and having dinner parties, but now, we enjoy ourselves and laugh over the Observer together, and pat ourselves on the back that we have come this far and… well, it is pretentious, but we like it…
And all of them, behind the boisterous silliness and jibes, love me entirely for who I am… and I love them the same. I am very lucky. I don’t think I tell them that enough.

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