When you do the expat moving around thing friends become a matter of heightened significance. You have to leave them, make them, leave them and make them on a rinse and repeat basis. When you arrive in a new country – or continent, you have to make them or basically it’s just you pal and if you don’t make them, pals you ain’t got.
The thing I’ve found though, after 5 years of doing this, is that friends aren’t so hard to find once you know what you’re looking for and real friends are hard to lose if you truly love them. I’m compelled to share the theories that lead me to this thus:
Epiphany 1: Friends aren’t so hard to find once you know what you’re looking for:
When I floated that hypothesis at myself I asked myself, well, Jackie, how do you know what you are looking for? Good question Jackie let’s explore it in the context of your own personal life. So, when you were little you had friends who lived on or near King Johns Road right? Answers self: Yes. Then as your geographical mobility expanded your friend radius did right? Then you went to University and had friends on your course. Then you went to work and had friends from work. Then you had a baby and had friends who had babies. It’s mostly circumstantial right? Now, Jackie, what are you looking for in new friends? Me: Runners, mostly. Yep. Runners. I like all runners. I tend to look for running in friends, not exclusively, but mostly.
BUT…lets think about all those FBR (friends before the Runners) that you still love, what do they have in common. *Thinks for about 3 hours (this blog was not written in real time). OK, they are kind, they make me laugh and they all have a little bit of a certain kind of mischief in them. I’ve sense checked this against everyone and it works.
And OK – you like all the runners, but what about the ones you love. Errrm…. They’re kind, they make me laugh and …have a certain kind of mischief about them.
Epiphany 2: Friends are hard to lose if love them:
They say you find friends for reasons, seasons and lifetimes and that is certainly a way of looking at it, but I’m testing a second hypothesis here. Jackie: Have you ever lost any friend you ever truly loved? Properly lost, never to be associated with again. And isn’t that a HUGE question!
My answer to myself is this: No.
Yes, I’ve had fall-outs, big, bad and ugly ones sometimes. Yes, some of these friends I never or rarely see. Yes, some live the other side of the world. Yes, some I met and loved but didn’t really get a chance to spend a lot of time with. Some I have literally only just met (but I’m certain I love them).
These people can make me spit my drink with a Facebook comment, a real live comment, or a whatsapp message or however they talk to me. A picture of their face or their actual face will make me smile (unless they’re sad). I will always want to go to an all you can drink champagne brunch with them (even if they don’t want to go with me). I will always want to know what mischief they’re up to. I’ll always have a hug for them if they want it and know they’ll have one for me.
So to all my friends, wherever you are (and I hope you know who you are), If I loved you once I’ll love you forever, you kind, funny, mischievous little feckers x