I'm 40 years old now. I'm comfortable in my own skin. I feel no inclination whatsoever to form relationships that don't form naturally, nor will I try to generate chemistry where none exists. Is that rude? Am I cold? Or am I just saving a lot of people a whole lot of time trying to second guess me? You see, the best relationships I've had have been with people prepared to share a bit of who they are. I struggle to engage with those who erect barriers, or who just seem cold and distant. Life's too short and frankly I cannot be bothered. Conversely, I warm up around those who can be real and laugh at themselves, people who can make me think and smile and render the whole process worthwhile. Route one to alienating me is to be petty, or malicious, or underhand. These are traits I loathe and will always distance myself from.
In the last week I've spent time with two people I treasure and respect hugely. There's Karen, my bipolar buddy, whom I've known for getting on 28 years. Her openness and personal honesty, coupled with her astoundingly funny self depreciation have been warming my heart since my school days. She's been through more in her 40 years than most will in a lifetime, and descended into some dark places more than once. Yet despite this she has raised five amazing children, each of them a credit to her. When we get together hours can flash by in minutes, and no matter how long has passed we just pick up where we left off. And then there's Kevin, a mate from my Christian days. Our pub rendezvous have been, dare I say it without mockery, a real blessing. He has retained his faith whilst I have long since decommissioned mine, and on paper we should be coming in from different sides. Remarkably, brilliantly it just doesn't feel that way. We're so acquainted with each others world views that we can argue on behalf of each other, each assuming the other's position. Thing is, he remained a friend when others found it too hard to be around me. I'm grateful for that, and I respect his decency and honesty more than any other Christian.
In summary, I don't have many really close friends. I have lot's of people I think well of and enjoy being around, and I wouldn't want anybody to think otherwise. I hope you don't mind me being this honest? I just think there's enough falsehood in the world without me adding to it. A good friendship is like a quietly burning lamp. The light brings hope and comfort, and sometimes even helps us to see more clearly ahead.