How to be (or try your best to be) a good friend

Being a friend is one of the most important roles we have in life. Without friends life wouldn’t just be boring-we wouldn’t have anyone to laugh about all the stupid mistakes we make, ring up when we feel worthless and pour out our hearts to and share our passion for XYZ.

We make friends with people for a number of reasons. Proximity: the first person we see on our first day at school at the sandtray can often turn out to be our best friend just for that reason. Then there’s a shared interest or passion. The main point is that we have a choice with friends, unlike family. Though, some people don’t seem to realise this-me being one of them for a long time.

At age sixteen experienced is one thing I am not. However, I’ve had enough of them to know a fair bit about friends. And I can honestly say that I am not a bad friend. So here are my five tips based on what I have learned about friendship.

  1. Honesty. This isn’t just important. This quality can tell you straight away whether or not you should be friends with someone in the first place. Liars aren’t friends. The issue is being able tell if someone is lying. It took me two years to realise that my ‘best friend’ when I was ten was manipulating me and I was allowing her to bully me because I believed her lies. I let her tell me that I wasn’t clever or good enough and that knock to my confidence still affects me today. I was in such a close friendship with her that even when I had recognised that I was unhappy, I took a long time to break off our friendship. But it was worth all the tears and upset because now I have a much better set of friends. My closest friends are the ones I can trust to be open with and we are just honest with each other. I mean, you don’t have to tell them everything. Some things you have the right to keep to yourself. Most of my friends don’t know that I had counselling a few months ago. My family doesn’t even know that either. That doesn’t mean I’m a liar, though. That is my personal information to share with the people that I want to tell and hide from those that I don’t. My point is that I believe the importance in honesty is not spilling your every last secret to the other person, but feeling comfortable and happy enough to share your thoughts, feelings and ideas freely.
  2. YOU. A friendship is a relationship between two people and, of course, one of them is you. So be you! I don’t have much confidence, but I am not afraid to be me. I’ll be honest, sometimes I get tired of being me and I wish that I could be someone else, but I can’t and I just have to embrace my personality. Then again, if you’re in a pretty bad mood it doesn’t mean you should feel like you have to act happy for your friends. Being yourself is also being human, meaning you are allowed to have days where you feel terrible. Friends are there to help you through those times.
  3. THEM. And of course, there is the friend. Don’t be so wrapped up in your own life, problems and drama that you forget about theirs. There must be a balance of support between both friends for the relationship to work. So let them be THEM. They are allowed to be upset, angry, cranky just like you are. And even if you don’t quite understand how they feel, they need you to be there.This is really important because it’s easy to disregard something just because it doesn’t make any sense to us. But just showing the support they need is sometimes enough to help you friend. Though, you must know them and want to know about them. Tiny things build up, so let them tell you about their grandma’s favourite type of tea or their secret ability to ride a unicycle. You don’t have to remember every detail, but how can you expect to be friends with someone if you aren’t interested in them? This is what I find key in making new friends. Trying to ask questions about them is so much more effective than waffling about yourself. Don’t turn into the person that stops listening until it’s their turn to talk! Like I said, it’s all about balance.
  4. Fun. Relationships can be complicated, difficult and just plain confusing; especially during the teenage years when there’s bitching, gossiping, immaturity, hormones, drama and all that jazz. However, we mustn’t forget that friendship IS about having fun as well as the mutual support. Often having fun comes from just being yourself and letting go. A lot of people seem to think that those who laugh loudest and act craziest have the most fun. Well, I don’t think that’s true at all. Most of the times I’ve had a load of fun have been simply hanging out, walking to and from school and on the odd occasion through a phone call. We didn’t need alcohol. We didn’t have to do anything particularly silly or stupid. We didn’t need to force it. We simply made jokes or chatted or played twister (yes, I know I’m sixteen years old. Yes, it’s still acceptable to play twister, I don’t care what anyone thinks. ) and had some fun.
  5. Sometimes it doesn’t work out. Don’t beat yourself up about it. People change, things change, life moves on. Some friends will stick with you and some won’t-just like you do or don’t for others. Seeing people around school that I was once very close to laughing and talking with people I don’t even know is hard, especially when I wonder how things might have been different if I  hadn’t let our friendship fizzle out. But then I have to remind myself of all the great things I could have missed if that had happened. So the most important thing I believe to remember is to make sure you hold on to the friends you really love, and the for the ones you lose, there will be more to make. And even if you fight and do things you regret, there are ways back if they were (are!) a true friend. I called up my friend who now goes to a different school today. I haven’t seen her in person since October and I couldn’t help feeling kind of sad that I don’t see her everyday like I used to. I don’t make silly doodles in the margins of her notebooks or flick through mine to find hers. She doesn’t sit with me at lunchtime and laugh at the way I eat a panini. We don’t look across the room at each other and laugh at something only we find funny. But that’s okay. I mean, there isn’t going to be someone to do all of those things and be the brilliant person and friend the way she had, but there will be new people that do other things. One day I will look back and there will be so many memories and little things people do that makes part of their personality and part of their friendship with me that I won’t remember them all. That cheers me up.

In the end,the key to friendship and being a good friend is not through a set of rules. There is no recipe (and even if it was, it would be a souffle or something pretty darn hard!).

When you’re little your parents and schoolteachers try to teach you to be kind and respectful and polite. But they don’t teach you how to deal with the huge number of assholes you come across in your life. You have to make your way past them and learn to let go of them when you realise that no, they are not friends, they are simply assholes.

Even when you find the best friend or the group of friends you love, no one tells you that puberty and parents deciding to move across the country and just change in general have chosen to shake everything up like a tacky snowglobe. You land on the ground and have to start rebuilding again, whether it’s your fault or not. And that’s before people start dating. No one warns you that you are going to end up being the fifth wheel on what should be a double date; or that you and your best friend would have a crush on the same person. Or even that you might have to face heartbreak alone.

Friendship is harder than it seems. Often harder than romantic relationships. But I know that it’s worth it. It’s worth all of the tears, all of the lonely years and all of the pain because one day you look around and every face you see you trust and love.

This was a (late, sorry!) response to the writing challenge for Writing 201

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A Tender Smile in a Desolate Place

 In the breeze I watch the dance of my dark curls,

My eyes, those dark enchanting pools where tears

Threaten to spill even after all these years

On the fresh skin of a blossoming girl.

My own flesh and blood, this reflection of me

Will never hear the words I long to speak,

Or the longing to give the love she seeks,

Ravaging my existence with agony.

Rosy lips murmur the words that I crave;

Three little words replenish my void heart,

That withered during our time apart-

Like the crumbling letters on the worn grave.

She rests the marigolds on the beaten ground,

Golden and vibrant against the old grey,

And slides her delicate fingers all the way

Across the cold stone without a sound.

A warmth was imbued by her tender smile

I’d forgotten in this desolate place.

Fifteen years of beauty glows on her face,

Bringing rare life to a place so hostile

All too soon her fragile frame moves on:

With aching loneliness she leaves me here,

Her last lingering turn reveals a tear-

A whisper of goodbye and she is gone.

This is a response to Challenge #4 of the Grammar Ghoul Press Writing Challenge. This week’s prompt was void (adj.) and this video called “Dia De Los Muertos”.

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Unrequited Love

In the bitter air Guy’s lips trembled slightly. He took time wandering across the bustle of the city street, secretly revelling in the chance to watch the tall figure who hadn’t yet seen him.  Against the black sky, the object of his stares stood, his jaw illuminated by the streetlight. With his arms crossed over his chest, the man leaned and threw casual glances every now and again to check his friend had not passed by. He didn’t understand how impossible that could be.

Guy composed himself, but he could not control his racing thoughts. Approaching his friend, they shared a greeting smile.

‘Patrick,’ his breath flowed out in plumes of white in the cold air. Glad of this distraction from his burning secret he was sure his eyes and fixed mouth betrayed, he allowed his friend to speak.

‘It’s great to see you! I’ve been so busy since Caitlin had the baby. God, the business has taken off, too-I’m working late almost every night. But, honestly, it’s great,’ he sighed with a pensive smile, ‘Anyway, enough of me. How are you, Guy?’ He shoved his friend’s arm, which was considerably smaller than his. Guy nodded and shifted his weight from side to side.

Following Patrick’s lead, they advanced to cross the street. Patrick was oblivious to Guy’s peripheral glances, stolen and short. ‘I’ve been good. Yeah, just um,’ he paused. He was distracted, lost in the strong lines and curves.

‘So what made you recommend here?’ Patrick motioned to the facade of the museum, aged and invaded by moss, long from its former glory.

‘I’ve been getting into art again, especially Bacon,’ he raised his voice over the buzzing engines as they reached the other side of the street. Slick with fresh rain, the pavement glimmered. It was yet to freeze over.

‘Oh,’ Patrick turned to his friend, a surprised but amiable expression crossing his face. ‘Have you been painting anything yourself?’

‘No.’

Guy almost forced his hand to his forehead out of frustration. He had said it too quickly. He was sure his lies had been revealed. Yet Patrick continued his confident stride up the steps, absent-minded. Relief filled Guy’s chest. Nothing could stop him from thinking of his paintings. They flashed in his mind. All beautiful and strong, just as he had imagined it would be, but he had always go the same thing wrong. He could never get the mouth right.

‘It’s a shame,’ Guy adjusted himself as they entered the warmth of the museum, which was white with sparkling polished floors. ‘Caitlin always loved your work.’

Guy almost laughed. But he managed to restrain himself. She certainly would not love his most recent work. He thought of her body, limp and lifeless, broken and beaten-dead. Stop, he told himself. He had to be more careful.

‘She’ll be here in half an hour,’ Patrick flicked the glare of his phone screen off and shoved it back into his pocket. ‘Do you think we could wait in the entrance for her, or did you want to start?’

I could wait all night, Guy’s lips crept into a smirk. ‘Yes,’ he turned to the doors, where the rush of the city could still be faintly heard, ‘Sure.’

Seated in the tired old chairs of the museum entrance, surrounded by cabinets of faded leaflets, Patrick tried to question his friend. Concern, unable to be concealed, twisted his mouth. The small talk was over, now he had to ask the question. Guy was preoccupied with his carefully laid out plans. If it wasn’t for the thrill of thoughts of what was to come of the night, he would have snatched more lustful looks.

‘How are you, really? Are you okay?’ Patrick looked down, ‘I know it’s been two years since your… breakdown, but–‘ He trailed off. He didn’t know how to end that sentence, or, more importantly, if he wanted to.

‘I’m fine,’ he tried to look sincere, but he was annoyed. Why did he have to bring that up?  

Soon, he would get what he wanted. He held in a burst of excitement as he imagined their screaming faces, contorted with pain. Slipping his hand into his coat pocket, he felt the cool blade of the knife. Soon. Then, he would get the mouth right-the mouth would be perfect. Through the glass door he saw her blonde head bob out of the taxi. Now it’s time. Now, whatever consequences I reap

(743 words)

FrancisBacon-PopeX


This is a response to the Grammar Ghoul Press Writing Challenge. 

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Glitter, Blood and Tears

A whirlwind of profanities flew from the glossy red lips of Jessica. The driver waved her manicured fingers dismissively in response, though she bit her lip.

‘No phone signal’ muttered Sarah, who hadn’t spoken for some time. Far from their usual haunt, the small broken-down car was swallowed by the green hills of the seemingly endless countryside. Against the bleak grey clouds, they looked like a trio of clowns in their sequins and makeup.

‘We’ll just have to walk to the nearest petrol station,’ Layla sighed. Turning to see vacant eyes, she slammed her hands against the steering wheel and left, alone. The clack of high heels gradually faded away as she stormed down the hill. Jessica continued cursing under her breath, stroking her fingers through her long brown hair. The day was dwindling away, darkness rising through the cloud.

‘Do you think Brad will find us?’ Sarah asked anxiously.

Jessica didn’t turn, just spoke through gritted teeth, ‘Not if you can’t ring or text him.’

‘I told him we’re lost, and he knows we’re supposed to be going to the club.’

‘Lost in the middle of nowhere. There’s no way he’ll find us.’

When darkness filled the sky, Layla had still not returned. The car keys lay on the empty seat. A little shoe key-ring glinted in the dim interior car lights. The low, steady snoring still didn’t calm Sarah’s nerves as she stared into the emptiness. Sarah reached forward and grabbed Jessica’s arm. Grunting, Jessica flapped her away. ‘Okay, okay.’ She brushed her hand across her face, rubbing the sleep away, and opened the car door. ‘I’ll go and have a look. Ten minutes. You stay here.’

Just like before, the clack of high heels against the concrete gradually died away.

As a light appeared, shining towards the car, Sarah shouted ‘It’s Brad!’ Her wide eyes focused on the bright headlights of the oncoming car. Hastily unfastening her seat belt, she slid out of the car into the night air. But as her jeweled high heel reached the ground, it slipped, twisting her ankle. Like a drunk, she lost control of her body, falling on to the muddy road. Her flailing hands were concealed by a blanket of blackness.

Gulping breaths of cold air, Sarah felt the sticky blood flow down her leg. Cowering underneath the body of the unfamiliar car, she let out a small cry. Immediately she felt the hands of a stranger pulling her out. ‘I’m so sorry. Oh my god. I’m so sorry,’ a hoarse voice spoke quietly. Dizzy, all Sarah could do was reach out to the man for support. Guiding her back to the car, wincing, the wrinkles deepened in the old man’s face, as he struggled to hold her up.’You’re not Brad,’ she whispered.

A sudden scream startled the strangers. The man nearly dropped Sarah, both out of shock and weakness. ‘Jessica!’ Sarah cried, recognizing the scream of her friend. The scream echoed through the hills again. It was distant.

‘I’m sorry, but I can’t help you any further.’

Sarah’s eyes-wild with pain and fear- stared into the stranger’s. She saw his pain and sighed heavily. Shaking her head, she limped forward, towards the screams. ‘I think you’ve broken your leg. You can’t walk on it!’ he protested. But she struggled forward. Speaking through shallow breaths, she told him she didn’t care.  As far away from the night clubbing she had imagined, instead of glitter and makeup, her body was adorned with blood and tears.

‘An ambulance is on its way!’ The man shouted, but she wasn’t listening. Blinking back the tears, she followed the screams. But soon she struggled to fight the blackness. It was so dark, she stumbled into thorny bushes. All over her skin, she felt the jab of thorns. Giving up, she allowed the pain to take her consciousness.

Just as her muscles relaxed, allowing gravity to push her body to the floor, the piercing ambulance sirens brought her back. Drifting in and out of consciousness, different faces appeared and disappeared again into the blackness. The old man. And ambulance person. Jessica. Words became blurred into a single noise. The last thing Sarah heard clearly before the blackness took her was Jessica’s voice. ‘Yes, her name is-I mean, was- Layla Richards’ She could hear the tears choking her every word. And finally, ‘Stabbed.’

The Grammar Ghoul Press Writing Challenge

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