Monday, 15 August 2011

Humanity, humility and friendship

Its strange where friendships can come from and the support that it gives in times of need.

Many years ago, when my mother was dying of cancer, I shared an office with a small group of young people.  Although we didn’t socialise outside work, we worked long hours and spent a lot of time together.  There was a lot of banter, laughter and hard work and it was a welcome respite from the trauma of my mothers’ illness.

Anyone who has been through the experience of having a close relative die of such a nasty illness, will know that it’s a roller-coaster of emotions.  This group of colleagues, despite their youth and lack of life experience, gave me a level of support I could never have imagined.  They let me know they were concerned for me, asked how things were going and somehow did all that without asking too much or upsetting me. 

Looking back on it now, I don’t know how I’d have got through it without them.  I don’t know whether they ever knew how much it meant to me, but I hope that they did.

And strangely, I think that it was because they were outside of my group of friends that I was more comfortable talking to them. 

Having come out the other side of a painful divorce, I see that a similar pattern occurred during that process.

I am sure that over the last few years there have been a few friends who have felt hurt that I did not always respond to their calls, didn’t see them as much as I did before, and maybe regarded this as a rejection of their friendship. 

It wasn’t.

It’s just that sometimes there are things we don’t want to discuss with those closest to us.  These close friends invariably know all the other characters in our life drama.  Inevitably, their views and feelings will be influenced by this and there is always the worry at the back of our mind, that something we tell them will be repeated.  In addition, if these friends have not had a similar experience, they cannot always understand our perspective.

And sometimes we need a friendship that is just about us.  “Me” as an individual.  Not as a mother, wife, daughter, sister or friend.  Just “Me” as a stand alone item. 

Recently, I have made a few new friends.  Some of these people live locally.  Others are followers of my blog or Tweeters.  And some of the more private conversations I have had with them has made me acutely aware, that I am not alone in my need for a friendship that is just about “Me”. 

Friends who don’t judge, who accept us at face value, who have either been through a similar experience, or have other issues which impact dramatically on their life and happiness.  These people all demonstrate a level of humanity, humility and kindness that, in the wake of my divorce, has restored my faith in the human race.

These friendships in no way belittle the established friendships we already have.  They are complimentary to them.

I hope that these people know just how much importance I place on their friendship and support.  And I hope that I am as good a friend to them, as they are to me.

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