Did you know that today is ten years since the final episode of Friends aired? Having this catchy ditty in our heads for so many years and watching countless episodes of this group of New Yorkers trials and tribulations it is easy to think that this is what our own friendships should be like.
The worldwide hit show has led us to believe that friendships can get through anything from failed marriages, surrogacy, and infertility issues (who knew the episodes were as deep as this?). Even when you are dealing with heavy subjects there is nothing like a ridiculously large cup of coffee at Central Perk on the squishy sofas making jokes won’t fix. It would be nice if things could be as easy as this six-some make it appear but the truth is that when sh*it hits the fan it’s sometimes those you thought would be there that are nowhere to be seen.
What makes a great friend? Is it someone you have grown up with, from playing in the playground together to getting drunk on your first alcopops? Is it someone you have just met but instantly feel this bond even though you hardly know each other or can’t even speak the same language. Is it those you share your working day with or can people on twitter who you have never met but share the same passions with be your true friends?
I remember when I was seven getting a best friend necklace that was jaggedly cut down the middle to form two parts that would make a full heart when joined together. Proudly wearing this showed all the other kids in the class who I was attached to. I haven’t spoken to the other wearer of that cheap necklace since leaving primary school, not through a falling out but just through life changes.
We don’t all live in a spacious Manhattan apartment just across the hall from our besties, people move, people get new jobs and new friends. People also change. As we grow up it is hard to realise when these friendships are not working anymore. Would you stay with a boyfriend or girlfriend if they started to pay you no attention, put no effort in or reciprocate when you suggested things to do? Probably not yet we stay ‘friends’ with people like this for years even when the things you once had in common start to run dry.
Friends come and go. Sometimes this is a natural process of drifting apart other times you don’t even realise they are nowhere to be seen until you need them. I don’t believe you need to speak every day or see each other every weekend to know your friends will support and help you. With the opportunity to travel, change jobs and move houses we are no longer tied to those around us like sharing a forever friends necklace. It is important to have friends who truly love you for you, not to both cling on to memories of what was.