[Photo: Unsplash/Greg Raines]
Modern city life, it can be lonely and hectic. Your new friends live and work all over town and few can actually be bothered to traverse the city twice on the same night for a glass of red before bed, so you stay local and make do with your housemate or least offensive work colleague. The conversation dries up and when they nip to the toilet, you text a bestie to lift your mood again. Whilst inane in jokes mean nothing to your workmates, they’ll have your old mates taking off in a roflcopter. You duck out early to have a long overdue video chat and a cheeky G&T in bed.
Amongst old friends, idiosyncrasies aren’t tolerated, they’re celebrated. Our friend Sam is super smart, funny and honest. A guy who disassembles things to learn how to assemble them. A man of conviction and a walking library of random facts, the kind you tell everyone because they need to know. The thing is his conviction is so strong that sometimes, when he stumbles upon a particularly random random fact, he forgets to question it and before long you’re telling other people Sam’s ‘mistruths’ and you’re the one that cops the blame for trying to convince someone of a fact that simply isn’t true. We call these “Sam facts” and we wouldn’t have him any other way. We just try and call him on them when we suspect…
And it’s a blessing to have someone you love enough to have in the bathroom the same time you’re doing a number 2 or get your baps out in front of in a changing room or discuss vibrators without fear of judgement. Knowing you have them is a feeling better than doing any of those things alone. Someone who knows you well enough to let you vent about petty nonsense but also to call you on your crap. Someone you can be vulnerable around without feeling fearful. Someone who knows you better than you know the words to the songs you’d sing together on road trips and nights out you still talk about even after all these years.
As a free agent, meeting new people without a wingmaiden to big you up and occupy your target’s obnoxious friend can be tough. It’s harder to feel like the best version of yourself without them. They’re your stabilisers. The ones who make the extra effort to come out and vet the options with you. The ones who will stay if you’re hooking up and only leave when they know you’re safe even when they never wanted to go out to begin with because they know you’d do the same. And then there’s that telepathic bond, the unspoken assurance that this is a two way street. There’s no loss of deposit, you’re fully insured and backed by the bank of besties.
And when old friends live abroad, it sucks, but ultimately you know that if you got on that plane afters years of no contact, things would remain as they were. The hugs will be stronger and words quicker but never will they carry anything less than love, because your old friends are your living history. They share years of your memories, tears and laughter. They knew your grandparents and they stroked your first pets. They sat quietly whilst your mum had a go at you over dinner and when you weren’t in their company, you were on the phone to them despite having just got in from school. And when you’re not in the mood to talk, you won’t and it won’t feel bad or awkward, but you will feel the warmth and comfort of knowing that anything yet to be said is just another step on the path of friendship; and we all know by now that it’s not about the destination but the journey you take together.