Saturday, 12 February 2011

There's nothing in the world worth winning.........

...save laughter and the love of friends.

Oh yes - I am sure you will agree, friends are THE most important thing in life. At least it is so for a woman - but I wonder whether the same is true for a man? Perhaps some of my male readers can give me a view on this.

A group of friends can give one another moral support, share secrets, laugh and cry together. This list of benefits is endless.

This morning we three friends went into town together, went into The Golden Lion for coffee, where we were joined by Dominic for an hour, and then stayed and had a delicious fish pie lunch - all sitting in a bay window in glorious late winter sunshine. We mulled over various topics, laughed, commiserated, gave and took advice - what a splendid support group.

Yesterday I had another marvellous "friend" experience when a friend from Kent, who is up here visiting her son (unbeknown to me), suddenly appeared on my doorstep early in the afternoon. What a lovely surprise and what a lovely hour of cups of tea and chatting. Hugs all round and we both parted feeling so much better for having met.

I could not manage without my friends. They all mean a lot to me, mainly because we have shared all manner of experiences together. As George Washington famously said, "Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation."

I have one friend who has been a friend for all but four years of my entire life. We have never lost touch although we live many miles apart and have met only maybe a dozen times over the years. I have several friends of fifty years standing. Then I have friends I have made since I moved up here twenty odd years ago. All of them mean a great deal to me - and i thank them for their support and love.

Well, you male readers, what do you think? Do men have support groups of friends as women do or not?

19 comments:

steven said...

weaver - all my closest friends are women. we are parts of each others support groups for sure. i've had close male friends but my experience of them was that they chose to remain at the surface of their life experiencing in terms of discussions and unpacking the trials and tribulations where the women i've known and know are much more adept at throwing burning questions out! steven

Eryl said...

As a woman I can't answer your question, but do understand exactly what you mean about your friendships. I only met my two very best friends about twelve years ago and know that I am a much better, nicer person for knowing them.

Heather said...

I think some men feel they have to be the strong ones and fend for themselves (is that a sexist remark? - I hope not) though I believe that male members of the armed forces make very strong friendships especially if they have been on active service together. Under those circumstances they quite literally depend on the support of each other. How lovely to have had friendships lasting for so many years. Sadly I have lost touch with many friends from years ago.
Perhaps I have been remiss.

BT said...

What an interesting post Weaver, you are lucky to have made so many friends and to have kept the ones from 50 years ago. Amazing. It helps that you've stayed in one spot for quite a while I suppose. 26 years is the best I can bring to mind, a lady I met when we were both pregnant and although I now don't see her much (she lives in Derbyshire), we'll always be good friends.

I'll ask Jim....

The Wife of a Dairyman said...

Can't answer your question but friends are very important to me....I look so forward to my 'girls' get together for weekends, dinners, and days. Wouldn't know what I'd do without my girlfriends:)

Totalfeckineejit said...

The tenacity of your friendships is amazing and heartwarming Weaver, though I think you may be the common denominator among them!
I've had neighbours workmates but never really many friends since school.
Friendships come and go. One friendship with a cousin, my best pal from childhood, lasted about 30 years. Something happened and we never speak or meet now.
Collette ,Mrs EEjit, is and always was my best friend.And that's enough for me!
(Blog pals are cool though!)

Hildred and Charles said...

Charles had some very close men friends with whom he spent meaningful time and I have heard some of the discussions they had which were full of humour and depth. However, they have all got the train to eternity ahead of him, and he misses them badly and has a lot of lonely moments. He is 87 today, and none of his peers to celebrate with, - it is sad but a part of being ancient, I guess.

Tom Stephenson said...

They're called 'pubs', Weaver.

Cloudia said...

My pal moved to the mainland.

Before that a sort of un-healthy longterm friendship blew up the week I turned 50 and lost my career type job. I started hanging with a guy pal who quickly wanted me to be his social worker. I interact lovingly with a light touch with everyone - but I miss having that pal (other than kitty, my scooter, and my blog). But I am married to a unique other who makes a unique "us" with me....
You fellow blognuts are kinda my support group. usually I'm supporting others IRL

Arija said...

Where would I be without the dear Prof's friends now? They field endless, not always cohesive, phone conversations from him, email a great deal and a few even manage to visit or arrange to lunch with him. Alzheimer's is no fun when you realise that your brain no longer works properly.
His and our friends are wonderful in that they also realise that I need a respite, even just to catch up on some sleep during the day without waking to some hare-brained scheme he has hatched.

So huzzah for friendship I say!

Gwilym Williams said...

Living abroad I find that in the main I tend to inherit other people's friends. There are of course ex-pat groups that one can join but I prefer not to do so as I like to be in touch as it were with the customs and manners of the people I'm living alongside. In the UK my friends are mostly those in the running club of which I'm still a member. Unfortunately I don't see them more than once or twice a year - sometimes not even that.

Dominic Rivron said...

Relationships is what it's all about, if you ask me.

I think you are lucky to have met as many people round here as you have with whom you have a lot in common. Most of my friends live a long way away, although that is gradually changing.

I often say this because I found it to be true, although people assume it to be the opposite: the friendliest place I ever lived was London.

Dave King said...

I'd say family and friends, but in that order - though I suspect that would be the same for a woman, too. The interesting question, for me, is how many friends? How many CLOSE friends can you really profit from and be to them all that they deserve you to be? I suspect that there a woman has it.

Elizabeth Stanforth-Sharpe said...

Your George Washingon quote is so apt, but those special friends are so precious and do add so much to our lives. x

Rare Lesser Spotted said...

Friends are certainly important to me and I've noticed that the friendships of youth are different from the friendships of my adulthood. I also think that if we were honest, most of us have more acquaintences than friends which is why true friends are so important. My friends (of whom there are only a few) are simply part of my life. Great and thought provoking blog - it took me ages to think about this one.
XX

Tramp said...

Interesting topic. If I compare my wife and myself I would say that the differences are that she has more contact with her friends than me with my friends and when they meet their conversation is more personal. I don't have to be with friends as much as she does and my friends accept that; that's part of accepting me as a person. I couldn't be friends with someone who wanted to be too close. We can be there for each other when necessary but respect the individuality and independence of the other. Whether this is because I'm male or because I'm me I wouldn't like to say.
...Tramp

mrsnesbitt said...

I am isolated here, so my friends are a lifeline. I regard you as a friend and am looking forward to heading over soon.

Jo said...

Fabulous post, Weaver.

I think, generally speaking, women arre more verbal, and therefore have an edge on the ability to make friends.

In addition to dear friends from my youth whom I have recently reconnected with, I have a dear and intimate circle of friends like you, Weaver, who will always be a source of love and support and wisdom for me. There are ten of us and we see each other at least once a month. We raised our children together, sharing problems, joys, celebrations, and heartache for over 30 years.

I feel very blessed, indeed, and at times quite sorry for the men I know (including my husband) who have very few such friends.

Steven, you are so special. You join two other men in my life who have the audacity and courage to claim women as your friends. I applaud you.

The Solitary Walker said...

I can only speak for myself, not for the whole male gender, but I just haven't the same support group of friends that most of the women I know have.