Well, I do.
I recently spent a week at Mum’s in the New Forest, catching up with old and new friends, and ending with a family weekend to a holiday park in Dorset, where I went skiing, ate an enormous amount of cheesecake and watched about 2 series of Frasier.
During this week, seeing my friends it was abundantly obvious that our lives have moved on since I met them, and if our lives were the same as in 1996, 1997 or 2001, I would be quite worried.
Friends do come and go.
Some people are what I call horse blinkers people: they’re only friends with the people who are right in front of their eyes. If that person moves out of their vision, which is restricted by their blinkers, they don’t keep in touch with that friend. All it takes for some is a new job, home, leaving university and that’s it, they lose their old group of friends, and move on to a new set.
OK, so I’ve not kept in touch with everyone since kindergarten. Obviously not. But am still in touch with friends from secondary school, previous jobs, university etc.
My friend, Hayley once said to me, ‘You out grow some friends’, hardly rocket science, and I do agree with her. I once sat at a table with friends from secondary school and they were all asking me the same questions about being gay they had asked five years before, when I came out to them. I didn’t see them again.
Hayley also said, which I think is less obvious, ‘With other friends you grow and mature with them through the seasons.’ This shows exactly what I mean about lives moving on.
I’m lucky to have so many friends who have done this with me. I’ve known these people before I came out, before children, before mortgages, before proper jobs. From a live of going clubbing and getting drunk in silver boob tubes and flares on a Friday night, rolling into Saturday jobs on three hours sleep, shopping for clothes like our lives depended on it, and spending £14 on a CD. Yes, £14 for a CD album!
And it’s having this shared sense of history with long term friends which makes them so important. Of course, you’ve got to keep the friendship alive, and not just revel in ‘remember when’ each times you meet. You’ve got to keep up with how each other grows and matures through the seasons and years. Sitting in friends’ homes, watching their children play, as I was introduced as ‘Mummy’s friend, Liam’ I smiled to myself, grateful for the boob tube clubbing drunken memories, and their link to me there and then stood in front of a small child, playing with a jigsaw.
Do you have long term friends? Do you move on with groups of friends when your live moves on? I’d love to hear from you.
I’ve used these experiences as inspiration for my first novel, Best Friends Perfect. If you’d like to read about how some friends come and go, about a time of essential combat trousers, arguments about if Steps were the ABBA for the nineties, and how some friends stay with you, book one of the Best Friends Perfect series out on 15 May.
Until next time,
Liam Livings xx