Devoted Doctor and I have been discussing the nature of friendship.
Our conversation usually tends to revolve around more mundane topics; leaking gutters, whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher, how to get Bessie to do her doo doos at night in the pitch black when it’s minus 4 degrees - that type of thing...
Such is the high octane level of romance in our lives.
However, we recently had some friends to stay for the weekend (dear friends it should be said, that we are always delighted to see, and that we wished we saw a lot more of).
They live a fair distance away; a good 3½ hour drive with no stops.
So, it goes without saying that any visit is going to be an overnighter.
Indeed, since we moved here, it’s pretty much a given that any friends that venture down here are going to want to spend at least one night.
A) they can’t hop on the tube home after supper b) it’s a bit miserable to dodge a glass of something deep, dark and red, or indeed something light and bubbly, and drive all the way home in the dark after supper and c) they might as well stay over and enjoy a taste of country life the next day.
That’s all dandy and lovely and frankly it’s far easier to welcome people here especially now we have Bessie (our new rescue dog) with us, as we want her to settle in and feel secure here before we start whisking around the place visiting.
In our unusually deep and meditative conversation, fuelled by a jolly good pint of brew at our local, we pondered how it was almost a process of natural selection.
Friends (most all of whom live at least 1½ hours away, plus a lot of whom now live abroad) who come to see us are 99.9% likely to spend at least one, and more likely two nights.
Therefore, it goes without saying that you’re going to want to know each other pretty well – warts and all.
Gone are the days of ‘come over for supper’ in the safe knowledge that you’ll be in each others company for a couple of hours and have a lovely time, but then you’ll be able to kick your shoes off, get in your dressing gown and slob out at home in peace.
Now, it’s a two day affair, so it’s pretty important that you get on – I mean really get on; slippers, pots of tea, is there enough hot water warts and all get on.
It’s a bit like having your parents to stay.
You may adore them, but you don’t necessarily want to be cheek by Jowell for 48 hours.
So, we reckon we see less friends then we used to.
But those we do see, we feel we know a lot better, (perhaps too well sometimes!) and they really are true friends, not just acquaintances.
I reckon we’d all much rather have a handful of really good friends, then countless acquaintances – quality not quantity.