I’m not sure anyone actually throws this question around consciously any more. It’s implicit, no? We meet, we partake in food/conversation/activity/laughter/advice/any mixture of the previous, we part ways and schedule another session. Beautiful and simple.
Recently, I was dramatically and catastrophically sidelined by back pain which ultimately required surgery. None of it was glamorous or fun, but it was unequivocally necessary. Goodbye, ten-out-ten pain.
And hello, active friends.
It’s humbling. The cards, the flowers, the texts, chocolates, cakes, fruit baskets, fudge and general wholesome love – so much poured into my life, each eagerly attached to the notion that ’I’m your friend; I’m thinking of you; I’m sorry you’re going through this; I’m here for you’ is valuable currency. And it is. The most valuable.
It’s gratifying. Efforts which might have gone into fretting about FOMO and being absent can be healthily and happily diverted to the vital recovery process. And efforts on my friends’ parts – to schlep, visit and call – add fuel to my drive to bounce back stronger than before.
It’s surprising. How being away from the social scene means that you’re perhaps more present. You’re missed. The gap you’ve left isn’t simply closed up and disappeared. It’s present, even without a physical presence.
So yes, we are friends, and the meaning of that is clearer than it ever was. Thank you, my friends – you are giving me so much more than you realise. I hope I do the same for you.