I’ve been thinking about friends and friendship recently.
Don’t get me wrong. I think about my friends all the time but recently I’ve been thinking about friendship in a more abstract way too
I’ve mentioned before how my 3 year old son meets someone new and immediately describes them as his friend and wants to invite them to his birthday party. Normally it’s a child he starts playing with at the park. Last week it was the 60-something year old man he was chatting to while we waited for the garage to finish our car’s service – ‘When I get to know that man better Mummy, can he come round to play?’
He finds it so easy to chat and just accepts the obvious – that everyone must find talking to him absolutely enthralling and want to spend as much time as possible in his company, hear all he has to say and answer his never-ending questions. (Most of the time, people do humour him, which I find so lovely to watch, until he starts telling them things no-one need know outside the privacy of our own little home, not even those of you dedicated enough to read this!)
I watch him and marvel because I don’t remember ever finding it that easy to strike up a conversation either with strangers (or sometimes even people I know fairly well) either as a child or an adult. I can spend weeks bumping into people and smiling before saying more than hello, then more weeks making polite chit-chat and stressing about whether the person I’m chit-chatting with would want to take things further and maybe, I don’t know, meet for a coffee or something.
Pathetic, huh?! I seem confident in myself in so many ways. Yet I have never felt confident that people will like me or find me interesting enough to want to spend time with.
It takes me a long time to believe new people, even sometimes friends I’ve known for ages, really do want to be friends with me. I try to be the best friend I can be to them, but feel I fail at that fairly regularly as I try to juggle too many things, fit so much in to my crazy busy life, and then beat myself up for being so rubbish at keeping in touch with people I care about.
So, here in black and white, apologies to my friends, old and new, and as always I promise to try harder to be the best friend I can be and that you all deserve…
Sometimes I feel I’m feel I’m really not setting a good example to my children, and maybe I should be learning from them how to chat and make friends… ‘Good friends these days are hard to find’, as the old song goes – unless, it seems, you’re a 3 year old!