Here with my great friend Nicci. We met years ago when she cast a drama I was directing.
Let me kick off by stating that I’m so freakin’ lucky to have two handfuls of besties in my life.
I really am fortunate to have the most inspiring, lovable mates in my life.
I look around (OK I scroll my facebook timeline) and find myself genuinely overcome with a warm fuzzy feeling that those in my inner circle are ‘trust-with-your-life’ kind of peeps.
And it’s taken a while to get here, believe me, but that what makes it all the more special, in my book.
Like many, I’ve been hurt in the past by faux friendships/ frenemies yet I’ve so many great pals I’ve literally known forever, or those who I feel I’ve known forever and believe those tougher times simply sort the wheat from the chaff!
And the beautiful thing about life is, you never quite know when a new friendship might blossom.
Take last month when I met up with PR and culinary queen, Lucy for the first time. We were hooking up to chat biz but ended up talking life for hours, just gelling in every way.
I know I’ve made a friend for life in her. How lush it that?!
So folks, what I’m trying to say is don’t let bad experiences stop amazing new friendships from forging.
Let your guard down and be open to others because life is all about connecting and sharing. Simples.
I’ve also got a little theory that the friendships which didn’t quite cut the mustard/make the finish line (let me just punch myself in the head for all these corny statements), leave a gorgeous gap to be filled with brilliantly enriching new ones.
You see at the grand old age of 35 (kidding 35 is THE prime, people), I’ve come to realise that not all friendships are built to last a lifetime, and that’s OK.
Chatting to an old friend recently who I’d lost touch with, got me pondering SJP/Carrie style on what exactly makes a friendship ‘real’ and and why some unions go the distance while others fizzle out quicker than cheap Prosecco?
Well frankly, it takes two to tango. Things don’t work out, then you need to look at yourself too.
I’ve walked away from or let friendships dwindle. People inevitably outgrow one another or simply lose touch, more often than not because there isn’t enough of a desire to actually stay in touch or enough common ground to hold them together.
Some friendships are purely convenient for that particular period in your life, inevitably fading as life changes and evolves. Hello big milestones: marriage, babies, moving house/country. And let’s not forget that some friendships just weren’t right for us, from the off.
I LOVE that some of my oldest friends are still my closest. People I have a long and often rather wild history with- those I’ve grown together with, people who’ve seen me at my strongest and my weakest, know my flaws and love me anyway!
I have friends I’ve known since the child/tween and teenhood years (they’ve seen me when my eyebrow game was at its worst (think Carpet World samples)-and at its best)- and truly feel like family.
Snow queening it with one of my oldest and closest friends, Carlie.
…Other friendships were cemented at university and despite living in different countries and time passing, they’ve gone the distance….
Here I am flanked (!) by my amazing girls: Amancay, filmmaker and founder of Lady of the World who encouraged me to start Honest Mum back on maternity leave in 2010, and PR Sharmin who now lives in Amsterdam.
…Then, there are other strong, sisterly women I’ve met thanks to my online life and now we’re just as tight IRL.
-Here’s a rundown of more women who truly make life meaningful-
My mate Helen from Mummy Mode.
Here with my girl, expert yogi Zaz and writer at Mama and More.
Another great mate who always brings me joy, Michelle!
My friend Maria aka my ‘Big Sis’ , the sister I never had- a rock to me and someone I can 100% be myself with. We always have a laugh together and put the world to rights (usually over a lot of Greek food)!
Actress Harriet Thorpe has become a close friend over the last year, I love her to pieces-she never ceases to inspire or amaze me and I feel lucky we met and bonded. She’s also one of the most hilarious people I know and life without laughter isn’t one worth living!
I also feel so incredibly blessed to have Jessica Huie MBE in my life, a strong, sisterly friend I love collaborating with.
Argh, amazing women, all.
But how about the chaps?!
…Male friendships bar one, all frustratingly faded when my ‘boyf’ now husband hit the scene.
I had tons of guy friends at uni but these dwindled down to just one dude: Will: the last man standing: who I’ve blogged about before here.
We don’t need to chat or see each other often to know we’ll always be buddies.
I made sure he was fed through uni and loved him like a brother. We’ve got a bond that just won’t break.
Shame the other male friendships didn’t quite work out.
I was the first from my group of guy pals to get married and have kids so I’m not sure they grasped the new me at the time. Our history was pretty much built on set, working in telly and films, then partying in Soho until 4am. I couldn’t be the same carefree friend I once was when Oliver arrived and those friendships proved that when dynamics change, so can ties.
Fast track to today and I have an eclectic mix of mates. Friends I’ve made from freelance jobs I’ve had over the years writing and directing and then, the last 5 spent as a blogger and vlogger.
And let me not forget my number 1, my husband, Peter, my best friend forevs, my life’s big love (insert link to Louboutin homepage, hint hint 😉 ) -and THE Honest Mum, my Mama of course-my blueprint for all the friends which followed!
..I’ve walked away from many a negative coupling too,finding as I’ve gotten older, my time and energy for those I just don’t click with has diminished. I’ve never held a grudge, but I know who I am and what feels right so trust my gut when it comes to friendships, knowing when to call it a day.
Which leads me to this test!
THAT WAS A LONG INTRO, SOZ!
But seriously, I’ve received a fair few emails and messages from women recently, concerned about the friendships in their life, mostly negative, so I decided to devise a litmus test of sorts, a way to determine how strong and genuine the bond you have with your pals might be, based on my own experiences and wisdom! Ha! It’s subjective of course, but hope it helps!
THE FRIENDSHIP LITMUS TEST: 10 Ways to Know Your Besties Are Forver.
1. Do they have your back?
Trust is crucial when it comes to all relationships. Can you be certain your friend has got your back. It’s not about who’s real to your face, but who stays real behind your back (wise words found on Pinterest)! What a beaut!
2. Can they be honest with you and vice versa?
Real friends must feel they can be straight with one another. They should tell you when you’re wrong, and you them, and it shouldn’t be a deal breaker. Yes be considerate of others’ feelings but always be genuine too. A real friend will value your honesty.
3. Can you compromise with one another?
No one can get on, all of the time. Compromise is key. You have to make allowances, be open-minded and understand not everyone is the same so practise empathy where possible, trying to see things from other people’s perspectives.
People’s experiences shape them and these will never mirror yours exactly so bear this in mind when difficulties arise.
4. Are they there for the good times and the bad?
Everyone enjoys a party right, but make a note of who sticks around when the going gets tough, the ones who hold your hand and let you lean on them when you need them most. True friends are ones you can rely on, no doubt.
5. Do you have fun together?
I’ve tried to make friendships work with people who just made me feel down in the dumps. Relationships are founded and thrive on chemistry. Not everyone will click, it’s just not possible. Science says so. Probs.
If someone makes you feel bad about yourself or the scales are tipped towards more bad times than good, simply accept they’re just for you and move on.
6. Do you understand one another?
Like any relationship, you have to understand each other’s personalities and values to have a long-lasting friendship. It’s down to empathy and respect.
7. Can you overcome disagreements quickly?
It’s important to fight for a friendship which matters and not allow disagreements which are a natural part of close relationships, to linger.
Make sure you apologise when you mess up, and equally forgive others too.
Don’t forget we’re only human, simply trying our best.
8. Do they like your partner/kids?
Sounds obvious but for a friendship to go the distance, it’s ideal your mates like those close to you and vice versa. Life’s too short for added complications. If they don’t sit them down and work through issues.
9. Does your friendship feel like a duty?
If so, stop now. You don’t have to be around anyone you don’t want to be.
Start valuing yourself and surrounding yourself with those who bring out the best in you.
10. Are you making memories together?
I bet like me, you have friends you might not see for years yet once you do, it’s as if no time has passed at all. With online life, there’s no excuse not to connect with others so if you or they, don’t bother, assume you’re just not that into one another!
Those you are bothered about though, require some effort on your part. Make time for your mates so they feel cared for and appreciated.
Email, snapchat, dm, face time-connecting with others has never been easier but nothing beats *actually creating memories in person. Nada. Go make a date with your mate!
Also take note, not every friend will be your bestie and that’s OK.
Horses for courses, hey?
I have lots of friends, some I only see occasionally, others I dance the night away when I get to escape (!) some are colleagues I’ve become close to and of course there’s lots I can’t live without!
All are real friendships I love and cherish- but friendship is about need too, the need for fun, support, stimulation and companionship. Just don’t expect every friend to meet ALL of your needs all of the time, nor you, theirs either.
Value each friend for the individual they are and simply try and be the best mate you can be, yourself.
So that’s my thoughts on friendship, I’d love to read yours too.