Friends either come to us or they don’t. There’s no measure or formula about how some friendships survive and others fade away.
As a child, you believe that everyone is your friend—until they’re not. Primary school playgrounds are full of heartbreak, not due to severed romances, but because a bestie won’t play with, or talk to you. You share lunches, whisper secrets and have sleepovers. You stay up talking all night, trying on your mother’s makeup and giggling about boys in your class.
Teenage years morph into a new level of friendship. You take your first tentative steps into a world of burgeoning sexuality and your friends are with you on the journey. You cry on their shoulders and they cry on yours. They hold your hair out of the way when you vomit into the gutter in Brunswick street at midnight. They are your cheer squad. They’re your people, your tribe, your everything.
And suddenly, they’re not there anymore. They’re in a relationship and you’re not. They’ve gone overseas and you haven’t. They stop taking your calls and returning texts. They’re busy, but they promise to catch up soon. One week turns into three months and a year goes by, and you realise they are out of your life and you’re not sure what happened.
There’s nothing worse than the breakdown of a friendship especially if it’s due to not knowing why. You spend hours reflecting and wondering about what you did wrong and what you could unsay. Sometimes, it may be resurrected, but often it may be best to leave the past alone.
Because there will always be other friends. They will come when you least expect them. The Uni friends, where you will have shared memories of trips to down the beach, all night study sessions and hours spent talking, talking, talking. The travel companions that you met backpacking and bump into over the years in London, Hong Kong and New York.
The work friendships that begin as a bitch-session between tea-room buddies. But then it morphs into Friday night drinks, dinners out and sharing debriefs about the latest episode of your favourite TV show.
And later, there may be the friends from your mother’s group and the school playground. Conversations about head lice turn into noisy nights out and camping trips. There will catch-up dinners when the kids are older and you realise that the friendship has continued past your kids’ playdates.
Then there is the oldest friend. The one you’ve known since you were 3 years old and she was 4. Your mothers were friends, but it didn’t mean that you would hit it off. Yet you still do. You have shared memories and argue and make up and forgive. You are sisters-in-arms, sometimes not seeing each other for months, but always in each other’s thoughts. In a way, she is the most precious friend of all.