Yet lately I’ve been thinking. Am I too good of a friend? I mean, is that even possible? I have never been much of a half-measure type of person – it’s all or nothing with me. It’s not that it’s hard work to be a friend to someone, it comes naturally to me to want to take care of people, stand by them. I have seen and felt enough pain at the hands of people I have falsely thought to be my friends to know that there is a fundamental importance in being someone’s friend. I am, however, a fierce friend and this concerns me sometimes, because I find myself feeling constantly like I have to apologise for that fact. I am, after all, cynical by nature and therefore even though I know I have the best and purest of intentions, my own mind plays tricks on me, corrupting my character with that anxious need to overanalyse everything.
Now, it is with no small sigh that I confess that this probably has something to do with the fact that I’m single. And no, I don’t mean to delve into my feelings about that particular topic and cleverly disguise this as a post about friendship when what I really want to do is talk about love…
My point is not that I’m single and woe me, it is merely a statement of fact. I am single. I have now been single for a long time, but before that I was not single for a very, very long time. Most of my life really. And if there is one thing that I know I am good at, it is being a girlfriend. I’m terrible at the meeting someone part, and awkward at the dating someone part, but once you get past all that, I am a fantastic girlfriend, with all the bells and whistles on top.
And so now that I’m not a girlfriend, I have all this extra caring capacity lying about and nothing to do with it. So I’m a friend. I’m the friend that’s going to be there when you’re stuck at the side of the road at two in the morning even when I have a cold. I’m the friend that sends you an sms when you’re feeling ill or just a bit blue. I’m the friend that asks how you’re doing and really wants to know. I’m the friend that’s always up for going out with you, regardless of how my day was. I’m the friend that brings a bottle of wine to say thanks for having me over every time. I’m the friend that washes your dishes even though I’ve just met you. I’m the friend that sends you random messages just because I thought of you in that moment. I’m the friend that calls you up for a drink after work.
I never get too angry with my friends, and I excuse them their flaws, for I have many that they have had to learn to accept. Life is busy and we would all like to see more of our friends, but sometimes you just can’t get round to it. My work keeps me busy, and sometimes I retreat into my own selfish shell too. I understand that need too.
I know some of you are shaking your head and calling me a hypocrite, but let me flip the coin. I’m also not there to be taken advantage of. I’m not going to just be there no matter how you treat me. I may give more than you in our friendship, but that still means you have to give. It’s a two way street.
I’m a friend. Overzealously, uninhibitedly, instantly and deeply. If that bothers you, I’m sorry. It’s the Marmite theory. You either like me a lot and appreciate me for who I am, or you dislike me intensely. So I’d like to say thank you to my friends, those who understand me and allow me to be this slightly special (read freak) brand of friend that I am. I know I dote on you more than your mother probably does (yeah, I went there, but call me mom and I’ll send you to your room), but it is only because you really do mean that much to me. It does not matter whether I’ve known you my entire life or if we met two days ago, you matter to me. It’s who I am, it’s how I am.
In a world where so many of us feel like we have to brace the storm solo and the ultimate clichés of ‘no one really gets me’ and ‘no one understands what I’m going through’ get thrown around way too often, I want to remind you that my care for you is genuine. It may be unbelievable to you and you may grow weary of me, even think me fake, but in that moment, in that inevitable circumstance when you need someone to be there for whatever reason, big or small, know that I will not falter, for you are my friend.