a friend in need is best avoided

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Last week’s missive concerning friendship made me think it’s about time I applied a little of Marie Kondo’s tidying and downsizing to mine by culling some of the socially-distanced stragglers. Her minimalist mindfulness method is based upon the assumption that the more you own, the less it means, which roughly translates to something along the lines of one pair of comfy shoes you actually wear and quite like the look of is better than a closet full of spats, sneakers, slippers and stilettoes that seldom see the light of day. So, I’ve decided to value a few close friendships over hundreds of superficial ones.

Exes I wanted to stay friends with? Gone. The opinionated Brexiter I tolerate as his wife’s hot? So long. That pre-pandemic barroom sponger that can never be found when it’s his round? Au revoir. Forgot my birthday? Not again you won’t. Farewell, my forgetful friend. Auf wiedersehen. However, just as I began to daydream of what exactly I was going to do with all my new-found freedom and surfeit of leisure time, my finger hovered over the send button. Yes, as a wretched people-pleaser, I find it difficult to liberate myself from the obligation of others but what exactly did I want to achieve?

Adult friendships can be tricky to nurture and maintain. They’re not as fragile as our teenage and early-doors associations, and they’re often not as valued as our romantic dalliances. Consequently, they’re easy to underestimate. And they can all too easily go the wall.

We all know that nostalgia ain’t what it used to be and if you start every conversation with “Hey, remember that time when…?” both you and your friend will die horribly of boredom. Or commit murder. Nothing should stay the same and that’s okay. We all need new things, novel experiences and fresh memories, rather than relying on the past. Yes, it’s fun to reminisce once in a while of the time you blagged it into an over 25s disco or threw-up on the finish line of a half-marathon but too much nostalgia is stale and stultifying. Having said that, it’s good to have ‘your thing’. Mine have usually been tied in with getting hot, wet & sweaty but if yours is watching The Simpsons long into Friday evenings, or baking rice-crispy cakes the first Wednesday of every month then so be it and good for you. An anchor in life is no bad thing.

Friendship is neither a monogamous nor mutually exclusive relationship and there has to be room for more than one. Perhaps two’s company and three’s a crowd but, really, I’m all for the more the merrier. And, provided they all bring something to the party, different friends for different situations. I also like knowing that my pals can party like it’s 1999 without me when I want to sit in the dark with a packet of custard creams and a bottle of room-temperature Barefoot Merlot. When you’ve done the hard-yards with someone over the years, be confident and revel in the bond you’ve created. Commitment is the key to maintaining real relationships and get ready to be there in a heartbeat, especially when lockdown laws are lifted.

Mind, irrespective of all this, there should never be room in anyone’s closet for a pair of crocs!