How Important is Friendship?
Are Friends Important in Maintaining Our Mental Health?
About fifteen years ago I would have answered NO to this question. I didn't think I needed friends to keep me sane. That was until I suffered post natal depression and felt completely alone. I had no-one to talk to so as far as I was concerned nobody else was suffering. It was just me, I was a rubbish Mum.
It was around that time that my Mum bumped into an old friend of mine. They got chatting and it was decided (against my better judgement) that we would meet up as she had confessed to my Mum that she was struggling since the birth of her daughter.
We did meet up and it was the best thing for us both at that time. I realised that I was not alone and that it was okay to struggle. It helped to talk and it helped even more to laugh.
A couple of years later I met two more women. I was taking my son Harry to nursery and they both had sons a similar age to him. We hit it off immediately and seemed to like the same things and more importantly laugh at the same things.
Over time my friendship with my old friend began to wane. We no longer had much in common and there was an occasion where I felt hugely judged by her. I then found out she'd made an excuse not to see me one Saturday night, even though it had been planned for some time. I was a little hurt, but it made me realise that the friendship was no longer for me. She most probably felt the same way. There is little benefit to staying in a friendship when one doesn't really want to see the other.
My other two friends are quite honestly the best things in my life apart from my family. I have made mistakes, I have said dumb-ass things, I have been a pain in the arse at times, but still they continue to be there for me and me for them.
Good Friends Do Not Judge You
This has been the biggest realisation for me. I think I can use their names here, yeah why not? Mel and Sam have been there for me through good times and bad and have never judged me. They have advised me when I have messed up on a royal scale but they have never once made me feel like an idiot or berated me for being one.
I feel that I would do anything for either of them. They have been the best of friends for a long time now. We have our moments, of course we do. The thing that keeps the friendship going strong is not what we have in common, but what we feel for each other and what we do for each other.
Each of them will say it how it is. If I do something stupid they will say so and I don't mind. That's what real friends do. They tell you when you've messed up but they listen to you and they give you the best advice, that you never take but appreciate.
All three of us have had our trials over the years but we've had each other to lean on during those times.
None of us knows how long a friendship is going to last. We can't see into the future and who would want to. I like to think that this one is for keeps though.
Friendship is Important
So I have come to the conclusion that friendship is so important. It helps us to maintain perspective and keeps us on track when we start to veer off it.
Friends listen and friends advise, but they do not judge and a good friend will never make you feel bad over something you've done that doesn't effect their own lives. We all mess up, we all fall apart sometimes. Life happens.
As the saying goes, Friends can lift you up when you're feeling low. It's true. They somehow know what you need to hear and they say that. Just being able to talk and cry if you have to allows you relief from stressful or tough situations. You feel a sense of peace after a good chat with your mates. Nothing seems quite as bad as it did before and you can even laugh at your woes.