And when people stop becoming one..
Over this last year, and having lost my sister (and one of my best friends), I’ve had to do a lot of thinking. It’s not always been pleasant, and often it’s been fuelled by the emotional rollercoaster that is grief, but it has helped me to realise a few things about friendship.
I’ve had a number of friends through the years, and I’ve had a number of “friends”, too. In the past, I was just grateful for any friend that I had, but now, I think I’m beginning to realise that often, these people weren’t true friends; they weren’t the sort of people that I could call in the middle of the night if there was an emergency.
They weren’t the sort of people that I could stay up all night, talking to about nothing very much, and still have something to say, and they weren’t the sorts of people that would make time for me when I needed it, even though I always did for them.
I’m not trying to sound judgemental, or make out that I was the perfect friend. I wasn’t. Far from it. The thing is, that a friendship is meant to be about people meeting each other half way. It is supposed to be a fifty-fifty, where sometimes one person needs a bit more, and sometimes, the other does, but the relationship should always equal 100%, and the proportions should be more or less equal.
I am incredibly lucky that I now have several people in my life that are these kinds of friends. I know that they’re there for me, and they know that I’m there for them. We know each other properly. We see beyond the facade that is put on for the outside world, and will always make time for each other.
There is an old Celtic term, “Anam Cara”. It is literally translated as “Soul Friend”. I am very blessed to have several of these in my life (if you’re reading this, you know who you are). It means a deep and true friendship where time and distance do not separate these people, and they know that no matter how long it’s been, or how far away they are, that there is an unbreakable link; a life line that will always be there, making sure that they never drift too far away from each other.
The thing is, I’ve also worked out lately, that some of the people I thought were friends, are really just acquaintances. They’re nice enough, and kind enough, but there’s not that depth of friendship there that I once thought there was, and you know what? I’m learning to be okay with that. I’m learning that there is room for the acquaintances in my life, and there is room for the Anam Cara’s in my life too, and I just need to have the wisdom to know the difference, and that’s okay.
There are many different types of friendships. I guess this is where Facebook muddies the waters, because a lot of people now believe that if they’re friends on Facebook, then they are friends in general, and that isn’t necessarily the case. Now, I’m the first one to admit, I have a number of friends on Facebook, but when I actually look at my list (the thing with which a lot of people nowadays, measure their popularity by), I find that there are actually probably a handful of people on there that I have a truly meaningful friendship with. Really, Facebook should call it a “Contacts list”.
The thing I suppose I’m trying to get at, is that in an age which is so dependent on social media, we need to really look at our friendships, and remember to nurture the ones that are true friendships, lest we lose them forever.
I am lucky, and privileged, and blessed to have my Anam Cara’s (you know who you are), and I want to thank you for being there for me, at my best and at my worst. I love you.
Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.