Friends and Friendship
Following a post by Mr Zig about friends, I have decided to share a few thoughts of my own.
I am not a person to have lots of friends. My main circle revolves around wargaming, and we meet up each week for a chat, beer and a game. These friends range from what I would call "very good friends", the sort that I would really go out of my way to help, to "just people I play toy soldiers with", and this sort has drifted in and out of our group over the years.
Then there are the "old mates". These are people that I was very close to a long time ago, but have more or less lost contact with over the years due to moving houses, etc. Meeting up with an "old mate" is great - these are the people that you know so well (inside, even if you do not know their current job/girlfriend/etc) that when you start chatting it is as though you only saw each other last night for a beer. The years melt away and the 2 of us are soon in our own little bubble, chatting away.
A rather odd group are the "people I vaguely remember from school". Usually these are people who wanted nothing to do with me or gave me trouble at school, but want to chat as though we were "old mates". I usually try to escape at the first opportunity...
I also have email (and now blog) friends, again often initially met through wargames discussion groups. A few of these have developed into really great friendships lasting for years, even entering the category of "old mates"! Some of these have been a source of great support and encouragement over the last couple of years. Please accept my thanks if you are one of them!
As a family we do not have many friends at the moment. We used to have a number of people we thought of as good friends, we would have barbeques together, look after their kids, help each other out with odd stuff, etc, you know the sort of thing. My daughter's illness changed all that. We soon found that a lot of people that we had helped out in times of need were nowhere to be found - they were happy to leave their kids with us, etc, but returning the favour was clearly not part of the deal! It was a bitter lesson.
One thing that did strike us, though, was that this was when the "old mates" seemed to step in, one group travelling hundreds of miles to be with us when we needed them - it was wonderful to see.
Friends? Yes we need them, but I wish we knew what sort they were going to be from the beginning!