Female friends have been very important to me throughout my life and I am sure they will be for the rest of my life. I have met women who have become my friends through different circumstances and some are also related to me. Some friendships have ended up being long term and other friendships have been shorter.
I generally prefer to spend 'quality time' with one friend at a time. Meeting for coffee or a meal is one of the pleasures of my life. Going somewhere lovely to sit and talk recharges my batteries.
I enjoy shared experiences such as going to see a movie with a friend but sharing conversation is my greatest joy. Different friends fulfill my need to discuss different topics such as family issues, practical stuff, gardening, writing and personal problems.
I have found I can't tell at the beginning of a friendship whether it will be long term or a fleeting connection. Some friendships I have expected to last have fizzled out. Others have turned into deep long lasting relationships.
When I was in hospital having my first baby I made two friends. I visited them after leaving hospital and was glad my little boy had some company his own age. I lost contact with one of these women after a few years but thirty two years on I am closer than ever to the other one.
When I met this friend I never thought we had enough in common for a lasting friendship. I thought our only thing in common was having baby boys the same age. Over the years we have found so many more shared interests and have had many laughs and a few tears together.
I had known another friend for over twenty years before we became close. We had kept in touch over the years but our conversations didn't have much depth. It was just small talk but pleasant enough. Circumstances changed and suddenly our friendship became close. Now we see each other frequently, providing each other with lots of positive encouragement and motivation.
Another friend is a wonderful relaxed person. We share gardening tips and talk openly about our families. I met her when our sons started school. I made friends with lots of other mothers at that time but have lost touch with the rest. Well, it is twenty seven years ago since my oldest started school.
What are the qualities I value in my forever friends? I need to feel accepted just as I am and not be judged. I value a friend who will keep information confidential if I ask her to, someone I can generally trust. We may have different opinions and tastes but we respect the right of the other to their opinions.
The 'forever friends' in my life are a source of strength, motivation, support and laughter. I truly value them.