I have heard it said that over a lifetime we can count our true friends on the fingers of one hand.
Those are the friends who stick by us no matter what, who will call (or text these days) to find out how we are, never forget our birthday and will cancel their own arrangements to be by our side when the need arises.
Everyone should have a friend like that.
Often the people who stick by us are not the ones you would expect and there is no better test of friendship than when you really need someone to be there – and they are. You find out who your real friends are when you are in most need.
I have always found that when things are really bad in my life, for whatever reason, it is extremely difficult to reach out to people. Instead, as the veil of depression or hopelessness slips over my head I tend to hide away. The worse things get, the more I retreat into my own little world of misery. A surprise phone call, a voice at the end of the line that asks, “How are you doing?” is sometimes all it takes to shift my perception, just a little, maybe enough to realise that things are not so bad after all. To offer hope.
A friend has empathy. We have all known people who ask you how you are doing and when you reply: “Not so good actually, my granny just died of cancer,” they say:
“I know exactly how you feel, my dog has a sore paw.”
A good friend knows when to listen. They sit quietly holding a box of tissues while you sob out the story about how you found a blond hair on his jacket and don’t insult you by suggesting that it might have come from the cat.
Nor do they launch into a long tirade about the time that they suspected their husband of having an affair because he was always working at late at the office with that tarty blond woman from accounts, the one with six kids by different husbands, but it turned out that he was really working overtime to pay for a romantic trip to Paris for their anniversary because that was where he first proposed several years ago when…. Well, you know the type.
All too often we take our friends for granted, I know that I do.
Recently, when I was struggling to keep everything going and dangerously close to giving up, the phone rang and a familiar voice said: “You sound as if you could use some help. I’ll be right over.”
I would like to say thank you to a true friend.
You know who you are.