I'm starting to wonder just how many photos exist of me holding in the giggles...
I'll be brutally honest with you... I'm writing this blog partly because I've had the theme from Friends going around my head for the last twenty minutes or so and I'm hoping that this process will remove it from my brain. It's bad enough that I hear the opening line and then feel the need to clap like they do in the song. I've had it in my head long enough for my dog to keep looking at me like I'm some demented performing seal. CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP!
And because I like to share, here is I'll Be There For You (aka the theme from Friends) by The Rembrandts. And now you can have it in your head, too....
The thing is, once I'd forced myself to sit on my own hands in a desperate effort not to do the claps, I did actually stop and think about the lyrics to the song and how they really do have a lot to say about friendship. You see, for all the trite quotes you'll find on the subject, it really boils down to one thing: I'll be there for you.
Last year, I fell out with someone I'd been friends with for over half my life. I put a brave face on it, but truth be told, I was pretty devastated. I'm obviously not going to go into personal details here, but suffice to say, it became clear that the friendship was beyond repair, in spite of my efforts to fix whatever had gone wrong (and I'll be honest and say I'm still not 100% sure how it came to break down so irrevocably). In the 16 months since then, I've thought a lot about friendship and what it really means.
It means wearing tops I gave them no choice about. Apparently.
See, in both ancient Latin and Greek, the word "friend" is very close to the word "love." And that's what I think is vital in a friendship. If you don't love someone, just as they are, in spite (or sometimes even because) of their flaws, then is that person really a friend? Or are they just an acquaintance?
When I had that fall out last year, it made me resolve to cherish my friends even more than I already did. To tell them often just how much they mean to me. To see the good in them, even when they can't. To "be there" for them, just like the song says.
I'm not saying I'm a perfect friend. Far from it! Oh my goodness, I imagine I'm incredibly irritating at times...When I think of all the things my friends have put up with over the years, I sometimes wonder how I've got any left! From confidence crashes to unrequited loves, my friends have been there through it all. Sometimes with a hug. Sometimes with chocolates. Quite often with a metaphorical kick up the backside. Because that's what friendship's about. It's not just about saying everything will be rosy. Sometimes, it's about telling you what you need, rather than want to hear. But it's always about having the other person's best interests at heart. I know that my closest friends would tell me if I looked awful in a certain dress. I know they'd give me a damn good talking to if I was being all "woe is me" and putting myself down too much. But I also know that if I told them my dream was to do a one woman stand up comedy show, they'd be in the front row, desperately trying to laugh even if everything I said was about as hilarious as a slice of slowly moulding cheese. That's what friendship is; supporting each other and loving one another enough to be honest. Ish.
Friendship is also about spinning a boat in order to soak your friend as much as possible.
I've been incredibly lucky. I've found a group of friends who don't mind me obsessing over the Manics (in fact, one actively encourages it!), making naff jokes, dancing like my Nan, being a sensitive so and so from time to time, or going off on bizarre rants about nothing in particular. In other words, I've found a group of friends who accept me for me, with all of the little oddities that make me unique, just as I love and accept them for all their funny little ways. And they prove how much they care in all they say and do. From Lydia literally picking me up off the pavement after my abusive ex had left me in such an emotional state that I could barely stand (and Kirstie admitting to sleepless nights, worrying about that situation), to Lizzie taking me to Butlin's for my birthday and making me giggle until I ached, they are each worth their weight in gold.
If your friend won't pose in a toilet with you, your friendship is not real!
That, to me, is the essence of friendship. Being there for one another in good times and bad. Sharing in-jokes that make you laugh until your tummy hurts. Knowing that you can be yourself, without judgement. Feeling supported and encouraged, however crazy your dreams might seem. Anyone can be a mate. But it takes someone special to be a friend.
Someone special. And Lizzie. MWAHAHAAAA!
So now that I've written about how great my friends are and how empty life would be without friendship, I've finally gotten that theme tune out of my head. Result! All that's left is to tell my friends that they are awesome, that I appreciate them more than they could ever know and that I'll always be around for them.
In fact, you could say: "I'll be there for you. Because you're there for me too."