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Friendship: What does it really mean?

A few weeks ago, I saw a post on Facebook that really annoyed me.

It was just one of these ridiculous posters that people share without thinking. Or maybe they did think about it, maybe they really meant it. Either way, It annoyed me so much that weeks later, I’m still furious. Here’s what it said:

“People make time for who they want to make time for. People text, call and reply to people they want to talk to. Never believe anyone who says they’re too busy. If they wanted to be around you, they would.”

Whoever wrote this has clearly never been a working mum. Or perhaps they have. Maybe the writer was a working mum who fits her hours around her children.

She might have had two children, two dogs and husband who has been unable to walk for the past four months. She could be someone who works until 3 am on many nights and gets up at 6.30 with the children.

Maybe she has suddenly found herself having to mend fences, fit radiators, move furniture on her own and lay carpets. But I doubt it.

I’ve never been a person who has lots of friends. In fact, I’m fairly anti-social. But since my husband’s accident, I’ve been completely unable to make time for the few friends I do have.

They message me and I rarely reply. They ask if we can meet up and I just can’t find the time. People stopped asking me if I wanted to go on a night out long ago. But nowadays, a chat by text or a coffee are just as difficult.

Every hour of my day is accounted for. Very occasionally, I might manage to find a spare half an hour. I might even manage a day out, but you’d have to be willing to muck in and help me with the children.

At the moment, things are really difficult here. It’s safe to say it has been the hardest few months of my life. So am I worried about the friends that I’m losing when I don’t reply to messages or make time to chat?

Of course not.

If you genuinely believe that true friends will make time for you whatever their circumstances, you are not the sort of person I need in my life.

A real friend will know the score. They’ll understand that right now, I’m going through a tough time and they’ll put my needs first. A good friend will know that I need them just to be there – at a distance. Just knowing they are there makes everything okay.

Because however difficult things are now, this time will come to an end. My husband will get better, my children will go to school and one day, I will have some time for myself.

And then, I’ll pick up the phone. And my true friends will still be there. There will only be one or two, a handful at most. And what if there’s nobody left at all?

I will have learned a valuable lesson about not allowing my happiness to depend on other people. Then I’ll book myself into a spa for the day, on my own.

And I’ll quietly celebrate the end of the toughest time of my life, and raise a toast to new beginnings.

Friendship: What does it really mean?


What does friendship mean to you? Can you always make time for the people you want in your life?



  1. Chris Rider
    January 25, 2016 / 7:58 am

    I’ll always be your friend Nat. Let me know when and if you ever need anything. You’re doing an amazing job, stay strong. X

    • January 28, 2016 / 12:42 am

      Thank you so much Chris, that’s really great to know. I hope to see you soon.xx

  2. January 25, 2016 / 8:39 am

    “at a distance” – I definitely qualify for that! Sorry chick. Of course we understand, I am coming down (to shoot a wedding) in April so book me in for a half an hour slot please xx

    • January 28, 2016 / 12:41 am

      Ooh super exciting, I didn’t know you were coming back! I can’t wait to see you.xx

  3. Agent Spitback
    January 25, 2016 / 2:16 pm

    This is a truly brilliantly honest post! I can so relate to what you have said. A true friend is one whom you will speak to so easily as if there has been no lapse or gaps of years at all…no expectations, no guilt, and no whys.

    • January 28, 2016 / 12:41 am

      Thank you so much. You are absolutely right, that’s the way friendship should be.x

  4. Izzie Anderton
    January 25, 2016 / 3:12 pm

    Sometimes life just gets in the way and it’s impossible to find the time to meet up. For me, the best kind of friendships are those where you can pick up exactly where you left off. Keep going Natalie, good friends will always stand by you no matter what x

    • January 28, 2016 / 12:40 am

      Thank you Izzie, you are so right. I have a few friends that I don’t see for years but it’s as if we were only chatting yesterday.x

  5. January 25, 2016 / 3:41 pm

    You are awesome. When you have time for friends in your life they will be incredibly lucky to have you. Right now I have no idea how you do it x

    • January 28, 2016 / 12:40 am

      Thank you Donna, for your lovely comment and for all your support recently, it has been invaluable at a time when I really needed it.x

  6. Julia Charles
    January 26, 2016 / 8:46 am

    I used to be in a little group of 4 mum’s when my son was small and we were close until about a year ago when I’d finally had enough of coming away from this group feeling like crap. Eventually after going out for a meal with them (that is been dreading for the entire week leading up to it) which was predictably hellish, one mum in particular is an uber competitive sneery mum who loved to undermine everything I said, I spoke to the member of the group I actually trusted & she immediately reported it all back to them. Suffice to say, I’m no longer friends with them & am now very wary of who I speak & make friends with.

    My real friends know the score & would never leave me feeling crappy. Real friends support you no matter what the circumstances

    • January 28, 2016 / 12:39 am

      Oh what a sad situation Julia. But as you say, your real friends wouldn’t do that to you, you are so much better off without them in your life.x

  7. Jane Horan
    January 31, 2016 / 10:58 am

    I’m sorry you’re having such a tough time, Natalie. I had no idea until we messages each other recently. Stay strong xxx

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