People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime

“People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime”

I love the sentiment of this quote (admittedly I couldn’t remember the exact wording so I had to have some help). I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships this week. I know I’ve blogged on this before but it really does amaze me how easily children make friends and, it seems, break them (and make up and break then make up).

I see lots of children doing Tiny Acorns classes. I also see a large quantity of 7-11 year olds running my Brownie Pack. It amazes me how mature they can be and how somewhat stoic at the ending of a friendship or how seriously they take what us as adults can view as trivial. So imagine my surprise when my daughter observed some grown ups arguing in the street and quietly observed that clearly they’ve decided not to be friends anymore as they can’t agree to disagree (where she got that statement from I have no idea!) and that it’s OK because ‘they’ll be friends tomorrow’ and ‘no doubt be playing again before the end of the week’. This accompanied by a sad shake of the head…… (insert stifled giggle).

Such wise words from the innocent mouths of children.

Do we ‘make up’ as easily as we fall out as grown ups? I’m not so sure we do……so what causes us in our lifetime to lose the ability to say sorry, shake hands and be able to play together nicely? Once hurt as adults is it necessarily deeper than the hurt a child feels when scorned? The answer is probably no, it’s no deeper but is perhaps a reminder of how it actually felt to be hurt and through fear of remembering that feeling a necessity to protect yourself from feeling that way again.

So would we rather walk away than say sorry? I like to think that saying sorry doesn’t mean you were wrong, but that you value the friendship more than being right…….. (even if it is said through gritted teeth!) but when is it right to walk away, before the damage is irreparable?

Some friends are meant to last, some friends are not. I had a best friend when growing up, oh we’d fight over Barbie Dolls or Cabbage Patch Kids, but I remember the pain the day she moved away….. my bestie had gone…… but as we grew older we would occasionally get in touch again and share important moments in our lives, out of duty and memories more than a desire to want to if I’m honest, but share them  we did. Until eventually after one such event we knew as we parted company that we would never make contact again.

Through my teenage years I had another best friend who I could never see myself being separated from, though some 15 years after our friendship started it came to an abrupt end, an end from which it seems we shall never recover. Something I’m not sure either of us will ever be happy to see end though we will probably never open that wound enough to find out.

I remember both friendships fondly and with no bitterness, some sadness that I may never see that person again, but thankful memories for some great times.

As I get older I start to value the true friend, the one everyone likes to call their best friend. I’m very lucky, I have two. One in England and one in America. Two totally different people. Different attitudes, different personalities and ….well… get the idea, just totally different.

With both I knew immediately we would be friends, it’s like a connection……and with both we knew each other incredibly, well incredibly quickly…… But what made me think this was the right person to accredit the title ‘best friend’? I’ve often wondered because we are so different, you really wouldn’t think we’d get along, but we do. We can speak every day for a while or go a few weeks without speaking but when we are together it’s like we’ve never been apart.

I can only assume there’s a force that takes over that makes us feel the same way, meet a kindred spirit and mutually decide (without saying so) to share a deeper friendship than we do with others.

Children have many best friends bought about by circumstance and without really understanding there are levels to every relationship but as adults we choose how deep a friendship will be, to what level we get to know someone (not counting the drunken nights where we share life histories with a perfect stranger) and for how long that friendship will last. Thinking back to my Human Resources days we taught people to remember we have three learning attributes – knowledge, skills and attitudes……knowledge, knowing that friendships start and end, attitude, being willing to understand that this can happen, skill……making the friend, acceptance at losing that friend and moving on. This last attribute is surely the hardest though once mastered it is perhaps the one that will help us move on in life and indeed leave us open to making a new friend.

It’s one I’ve yet to master successfully and one I hope not to utilise often, though who knows where or when we need to pull on any of our skills? (My ability to read and spell backwards is far more entertaining!) And yet, if I need it, the skill is there and move on I will.

Except from the Irish one and the American one, they’re stuck with me…….

Laura x