Why True Friendships Have No Expiry Date
I don’t know about you, but I love a good natter.
Friends and family will nod their heads in agreement when I tell you that I do not need to be reminded of how good it is to chat. But listening, well, that’s a real gift.
One step on from listening is actually hearing. Hearing and responding with support when it’s needed, tough love when it’s right, and laughs as often as possible. Friends who offer their ears through thick and thin are gold and shouldn’t be underestimated.
I’ve been listening a lot lately, not just to friends with their healthy dose of jokes, life stories and advice, but also to complete strangers. No, I am not a random weirdo who eavesdrops on people’s conversations, although that can be fun! I have been working on a project which records a conversation between two people; an insight into the lives of others and what people in 2015 talk about. Two women who I shadowed had a conversation about friendship in their older years. When talking about the future of their friendship they sweetly said, “There is no expiry date”. The thought that their friendship might ‘end’ hadn’t even crossed their minds. And why should it?
Friendships mature like a good wine. The quality improves with age. Shared experiences alter friendships, making them more pleasurable and ultimately more comfortable. Often not even a word needs to be said and an old friend will know what you are thinking. I have the most readable face going, so frankly many people can tell my thought pattern. And if my face isn’t clear, I’m not shy in coming forward (most of the time). Having said that, there is a comfort in being around people who know you so well that no explanations are necessary.
As I sat listening to the women talking about their friendship, I wondered, have I ever asked myself whether a friendship is going to last? I’ve read articles which suggest ‘old’ friends won’t stick with you beyond 30, and that the life cycle of a friendship is seven years on average, but I can hand on heart say that I’ve never entered a friendship with an end date in sight.
Maybe I have been lucky with the friends that I have? I’m certainly not close friends with every soul I’ve ever encountered. Who is? Friends come and go, and naturally so. People move away, do different things, and sometimes someone who was your best friend one year will barely see you the next. But that doesn’t mean they are not still a good friend. And, as I’m sure you find, true friendships can just pick up where they left off.
Of course, life sometimes gets in the way. ‘Friends’ sometimes hurt, disappoint or neglect you without warning. Friends sometimes get other friends who they see more than you. But a good friendship never fades, and a good friend will always be there, somewhere, ready to answer your call when you really need them.
So if there isn’t an expiry date on a friendship, why do we live in fear of an expiry date in a relationship? A break up of a friendship can be just as heartbreaking as that of a relationship, if not worse sometimes, particularly if they have been in your life for a long time. Yet each time I meet up with a friend, I don’t think, ‘I wonder how long this will last?’ So why do we put that question mark on relationships? Why, two weeks, two months, two years in, do we find ourselves making a call as to whether it will last? Perhaps it is because you can have a ton of friends but, unless you do things differently, in the end you will have one partner.
Lots of my friends are in lovely relationships, but because of previous experiences they are waiting for the expiration date. But what if there isn’t one and all that energy is wasted? Life, of course, isn’t that simple and complications do arise. But my goodness is it nice to know that true friendships don’t have an expiry date. I am beyond thankful for mine, you beauties, and I hope that you too have such faith in your friends.
As a wise man once said, the people who belong in your life will come find you and stay. No expiry date.
Image Credit: Lisa Widerberg