Hello friends! But are we really? No, not in the traditional way, as almost of us have not really met. But we are certainly pals in the social media sense, in that you know me, or think you do, and I know that you are reading this because you either like me, like to hate me, or accidentally stumbled on this and don’t have anything better to do than to keep on going.


Still with me? Nice. Anyway, I don’t have a large circle of friends. I don’t even have a small circle. Rather, I have a few individual friends, most of whom I interact with on a one-to-one basis. Most of these friends, the ones I am closest to, live in far flung places: England, France, British Columbia, Mexico. Was it something I said or did? Doubt it. Are we better friends because we don’t see or talk to each other on a regular basis? Maybe. Am I looking for new friends? I don’t think so.


Forging real, deep emotional connections, with real people outside of social media, is not easy. Our early friendships are based on being in the same class, or living next door to each other, and suffering though the same day to day monotony of childhood together. In university, we tend to find each other through more common ground, like a shared interest in 20th Century English Literature, or keggers. Then you have work friends, and friends you make through your children, if you have them. But after a point, friendship seems like a lot to work. I know I’m supposed to have a strong and diverse built-in social network to keep me healthy in my incipient decrepitude, but sometimes it just feels like one more thing I’m supposed to do.


Don’t get me wrong: I’m social. We entertain a lot, with dinner parties and Christmas gatherings and cottage weekends galore. I know a lot of people, and care deeply about more than a few of them. But do I have a witty and wacky gang like they do on “Friends”? A pack of lascivious lady pals like “Sex in the City”? A bunch of crime-solving cartoon buddies like “Scooby Doo”? I do not, and that last one is just weird. Nor do I have one of those best friends to talk with on the phone every day for hours at a time, and I’m fine with that. In fact, that’s the last thing I want. Maybe it stems from talking on the radio for 4 hours a day, but I dislike the phone, and sound grumpy every time I answer it, if in fact I do.


It sounds a bit corny, but my best friend is my husband, closely followed by my two sons. I completely and utterly take John for granted, but he is the first and only person I turn to when anything happens, bad or good. I trust him absolutely, and I’m pretty sure he feels the same way. He is also the best company, even if he’s irritatingly cheery in the morning, and falls asleep watching TV, and can never remember the names of actors or pop stars. Sure, I would leave him in a second for Bradley Cooper, but I’m not likely to have the opportunity.


The thing is, you can’t really set out to make friends. Real friendship happens organically, and, in my experience, takes a long time to cultivate, and some effort to maintain. It requires more than the occasional lunch date; ideally, friends have experiences together, good and bad. What’s the saying? A good friend will help you move. A better friend will help you move a body. I hope you have at least one friend that will do that, and that they never have to.


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