the comfort of old friends…

I love making new friends, meeting people and discovering how fascinating the universe is… I am by nature curious (picture this: Std 7 study class where I systematically take apart my watch at the school desk with the compass and pencil/pen to find out exactly how it does work, then put it back together, take it apart, put it back together… you get the picture). New people help me stay interested in life. However, as an old friend of mine told me a few years back “New friends are silver, old friends are gold”. How true!

There is something comforting about old friends, those who know you, who already have your measure and whose reactions you do not need to question. This came to me this week as I was talking to a friend coming to stay – I offered for another friend to pick her up as I was working…she said “oh no, I’d rather the taxi because then I’d have to be nice”… now, of course my friend is nice but of course she meant that the work involved in keeping up appearances with the new person would be a little overwhelming for her. Old friends know our quirks, our silly hang ups and our vulnerabilities. So comforting to know that they know and we are safe.

The thing about being safe is that we often are not sure how much we can trust new people with, so we need to weigh our words, think about what we share and generally make sure that if they turn out to be horrid, we are still safe (emotionally I mean). With old friends we already have travelled these roads, many times they have already trodden on the painful spots, and we have figured out that they did not intend to and will carefully help us protect those spots now.

Old friends are good to have. They accept us, love us and – quite frankly – put up with us. Over time they have proved faithful and we love them for that. For various reasons I have managed to live in a vacuum at times – a woman without history – and while it seems liberating, truth is that it leaves you unanchored, drifting and more vulnerable than all those people who know your weaknesses. It is good to make new friends and allow them in, but let’s always rejoice in the comfort of old friends.

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