One of my best friends lives nearly 200 miles away from me. That really sucks sometimes... But what I've realised in the four years of becoming long-distance best friends (LDBFs) is that there are several tell-tale signs you know it's going to be a friendship that lasts, no matter what the distance is.
A few years ago, I heard a term that made a lot of sense to me. Actually, that's not entirely true, at first it made me roll my eyes at yet another -ism entering the vernacular. I wondered whether the world really needed another label to navigate round, until one day, to my shame, I realised that the label, quite literally, defined me.
Social media suddenly became awash with women celebrating other women whether it be their friends or other females they admired. Of course women should be bigging up other women (I am a big believer in this), but for all the lovely ladies out there feeling lonely who AREN'T included in these lists, these features can only serve to make them feel a little bit sad and their day a little bit sh*t.
Deprived of the time, due to family and work commitments as well as logistics, to be of practical help to Chris and Jane, Charlotte's mum and dad, we struggled to think of what we could do to support them and their wider families. In the end we decided to do what came naturally; be creative, bossy and try to organise people.
On Monday I returned from a 10-night holiday in Crete and I found it to be a pretty life-changing experience. Not for the endless sunshine and cocktails, or for the beautiful sunsets. Not even for the many stray cats that I managed to feed during my trip. It was life-changing because I met an elderly chap called Ken.
There's a kind of rumour going round that it's not very 'good' for women to talk about men all the time. As if it trivialises us. Well, meh. OF COURSE we talk about other things: like Brexit, the threat of Donald Trump, and how would you genetically engineer a unicorn?.. but you couldn't stop me talking about men with my friends if you paid me.
That friendship doesn't change as time passes. When you are reunited, they don't ask you indirectly - who are you now? - by endless questioning about what you do and the logistics of your life. Those friends look into your eyes and know immediately of all your adventures through the happiness they find there.
I come out of the meeting and feel overwhelmed with emotion, armed with a pack of redundancy docs, now known as 'the white envelope of doom'. My face is puffy from all the crying and the fact my HR colleague has been plying me with cheap kitchen roll. Word of advice to any HR advisors- invest in Kleenex.