My parent's marriage ended when I was 12. So, I've always had the attitude that love and relationships are to be worked at, something I blamed them both for not doing.
No one can say I haven't worked at my relationships. I've forgiven when needed, been patient when pushed, determined when others would walk away, and always understood that this type of effort was vital to relationships. I just never thought I might have to apply this type of vigor to my friendships.
Now, I don't know if it should. Is it best to walk away from someone if the river runs less than smooth or like my relationships, should we value the years in our friendships and persist through the muddy times?
If something isn't easy anymore, is that proof to call time on it, or do we knuckle down to fix it?
I moved away from my best friends when I was 18. I packed up, and moved my entire life to London. I've always been a sucker for the neon lights of Soho. At an age when it could have been easy to just get new friends in the capital, I sustained my friendships back home. I visited lots. I entertained several times a year in whatever grotty over priced flat I was living in, (I got quite creative putting up nine drunk girls in the kitchen/bathroom/hallway so we could have a night out in on the cheap in Soho.) I wrote letters, sent flowers, used new apps to send canvas photos or a jam jar of sweets; in short, I did whatever I could to hang on to them.
Lately, I've wondered how hard I should continue. It's never been difficult to make the effort, I've never had a thing to complain about, but when you are 30, have just been proposed to, you start to look at the people around you with a little more intent and notice the friendships that can be one sided.
Most people in my life come easy; certainly those I've known the longest. They are grateful for my attention and when we catch up I instantly remember how special these friendships are to me. I am glad I ran out in my PJs at 10pm to post the card to the mate who just got dumped, or spent too many Friday nights at Euston Station waiting to board a hideously packed train to Northampton, spending my last £50 on doing so. I'm glad I've spent dark nights hanging outside my office in the rain as I take the call from a mate who had just put the kids to bed and could chat, despite the fact I was still at work, and was now wet.
But when the effort is not returned, it sucks. Luckily, I've got some great friends and so when picking my bridesmaids I had no end of options, which is wonderful - (I'm very aware how lucky I am.) But as anyone will tell you, weddings also bring out the crap. Announcing a wedding is like pouring shit loads of weed killer all over your friends you notice those who blossom and those who cease to exist. (What an appalling analogy, my god I suck at these.) I had a couple of people who I thought were really good friends just act like I was someone they could de-friend on Facebook. It's made me think, do I suck it up, shower them with more love and make more effort in the hope that one day it will be great and I'll be grateful I have kept that friendship, or do I think people change, life moves on, and friendships aren't boyfriends to be worked at.
Annoyingly, for anyone still reading this, I don't have the perfect ending, the neat little answer to round this all up. I guess, some friendships are to be worked at and some aren't, and the talent is in how you pick which one is which.
Oh, and if we all spend our whole lives trying NOT to be dicks, it can't hurt can it?