Friday, July 24, 2015

The road to a friend's house is never long (especially when they live next door)

Friendships don't manifest overnight. It takes time.

The best friends, surely, are the ones who've known us the longest - and are still around to tell the tale. The friends who were there when you were experimenting with personalities, booze, style statements and so on. The friends you've had dinner with in more than one decade, and at dozens of different tables. The friends who've seen you through some of life's milestones: first job, first home, breakups, weddings and christenings. These are the friends you don't need to explain yourself to. The ones with whom you can dive straight into the middle of a conversation, drop by at a moment's notice, and unburden yourself of all the worries you're still withholding from newer, less well established friends.

Proximity can speed the friendship process up. That's how come we end up so close to our desk neighbours at work, even if we have nothing in common with them. Because spending forty hours a week next to someone forces a sort of intimacy. Maybe that's why those college friendships are so enduring: not just the rites of passage you go through together, but the fact you live in each other's pockets for three years or so. Some of those friendships endure. Others, it turns out, were purely based on proximity and fade when you move on.

TLOML and I rapidly became good friends with our next door neighbours. It's the kind of friendship where it's okay to suggest a whisky at 9pm on a Wednesday night and schlep over in yoga pants. Where last minute dinners are jointly, casually catered. And where we unburden ourselves of minor irritations and major stresses as if we've known each other for years. Yet we've only known each other for 18 months.

We've fast-forwarded the friendship process and I think its because - as well as being like minded - we live right next door. We bump into each other all the time and getting together is as easy as can be. We don't even need to put shoes on in order to hang out with each other.

So the big question is: will this new, valuable friendship survive when we live all of 3/4 mile away? Watch this space.