Different friends can serve different purposes

Different friends can serve different purposes

I’m lucky enough to have a very loving and supportive partner, as well as two loving and wonderful children. In addition, I still have one parent alive, and two siblings, with whom I think I have good relationships. Taking everything into account we’re all pretty close. I don’t take this for granted; family is family.

But putting this aside for a moment, I want, today, to focus on the role of friends in my life. I don’t have a large friendship group, at least partly because my years of mental ill-health damaged many relationships (for which I take almost all responsibility), but I do still have a few friends who’ve stuck by me and with whom I’ve increasingly made a strong effort to stay in touch with and to stay connected to.

It might sound obvious to many but for me, not all friendships are equal. 

By this, I don’t mean some are better than others, or more intimate. What I mean is that in my life, different people support me in different ways, different people need different support from me in different ways, different friends serve different purposes, provide different forms of love and fun and, well, they’re just different in many, many ways.

All of which is OK. But none of which seems to get talked about all that much (unless I’m missing something!). 

There’s no doubt not all of my friends fully understand me; but they’re still good friends in other ways. There’s no doubt some friends support me more emotionally, are more willing and able to listen to and talk to me in comparison to others. But there’s also no doubt some friends are more fun, share more of my interests, are more keen to go on adventures or do different activities with me. It’s almost like I have different friends for different parts of my life because they have different qualities. No, it’s not almost like that … it is like that!

For many years I didn’t really “get” this. In fact, for many years I felt frustrated that some friends didn’t get some parts of my life but fitted in well to other parts. Increasingly, however, over the years I think I’ve become better at being less judgemental, and more accepting of my friends, and of people in general, for being who they are and for giving what they can. And increasingly, I’ve become more grateful for every and any part they choose to play in my life.

Because … friends are friends. And friends are life!