Wednesday, 30 May 2018


This is the column, first published in the York Press on Tuesday, April 24th, 2018.

I have just returned from a short holiday in Wales and met up with one of my friends from college days. We’ve only been able to meet a handful of times over the past decades, but in her company, we’re eighteen again and anything can be shared.  No pretence, no judgement, just true friendship. When I read problem pages and people write that they don't have any friends, I feel a sadness. I'm not sure what I would do without my friends, some of whom I have known since primary school. As the decades pass, I can identify with the truth in the saying that friends come into your life for, ‘a Season, Reason or Lifetime’. Sometimes that lifetime is too short.

Thinking about friendship brings to mind the word, ‘sharing’. Reflecting on the time spent with friends, it’s been about sharing the present times and past times with all the challenges, difficulties and fun times too.  Together we’ve laughed and cried and had some extraordinary experiences, as well as mundane. I hope I have been able to support my friends, as they have supported me. 

The days of spending time talking on a landline are dwindling and email and social media are taking over. Some say that friends on social media are not true friends, just superficial. I disagree. My Facebook friendship groups span six decades. When my husband was seriously ill in hospital, the Facebook community provided genuine support. I didn’t feel alone. I do understand that it’s not for everyone and that, sadly, as with all means of communication, the internet can be abused. 

On my own in middle-age, I was thankful for keeping in touch with friends, even the once a year Christmas cards. One friend was a man, who I had known as a teenager and also on his own. Unexpectedly, a mature friendship grew and at our Blessing service two years later, the poem’ Friendship’ by the 17th Century Quaker, William Penn, was read. This is part of it.

“a true friend discloses freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously and continues a friend unchangeably.”  

Time passes quickly. If you haven’t been in touch with a friend recently, get in touch soon.