I recently spent a weekend in Edinburgh, and on my way home, I had a bit of a light bulb moment about friendships. I've come to realise that true friendship is a conversation in which you don't have to filter your thoughts, but just let them slip off your tongue, and even if the person sitting opposite you doesn't agree with you, or thinks you're weird or just downright insane, that doesn't matter at all.
We sat in the sunshine with wine and laughed about our reckless traveling days; about new flames, old flames and flames long extinguished. The conversation rolled effortlessly from crude hilarity to the answering of questions that you hadn't yet realised were on your lips and the solving of problems that had been unknowingly weighing you down for quite a long time. Although it could be attributed to the wine, I'm going to blame the growing sense of calm and peace that descended upon me during our sunny, wine-soaked afternoon to the conversation and the friendship itself.
It’s so easy to get caught up in “toxic” friendships and to think that because you’ve been friends with someone for a while that you need to continue that friendship for the foreseeable future. If a friend isn’t a positive force in your life, you shouldn’t feel like you have to keep them around. I’m not saying a dramatic bust-up is necessary, but just pay more attention to those who make you feel good about yourself, and less to those who don’t add anything to your life. Time spent with friends should leave you with a feeling of calm happiness and with a reaffirmed sense of self, not a sense of frustration and self-doubt.
I'm very lucky to have found a few of these great friendships.
There are some people in this world with whom I feel irrevocably bound. It is as if they make up my backbone: they form some sort of metaphorical structure within me that enables me to stand up, as myself, no matter where I go in the world. If I find myself surrounded by people with whom I don't get along at all, in relationships fraught with tension and misunderstandings, it doesn't matter much to me, as I know I have friendships in which there are no judgements, no dishonesty, no reservations. They are the type of friendships that aren't affected by months passing without speaking, as I somehow feel constantly connected. I trust that they will always be there for me, as I know I will be for them. In all its cheesiness, I have found some people who accept me for me, and who I accept whole-heartedly for themselves.
I have never much thought about the meaning of friendship until I sat on the train home that evening with Vivaldi’s L'estate Presto blaring in my hungover ears. As I left Edinburgh that night, I felt calm, happy and with a serene sense of self; confident that everything is going to be okay. That is what my truest of friends do for me; they make me feel completely at ease, happy and sure that I am on the right path, that I have made the right decisions. Even if I cock up royally somewhere along the line, we will always have sun-soaked afternoons and evenings, with conversations that flow as freely as the wine.
My only hope is that they know how much they mean to me, and know that I would go to the ends of the earth for them.