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We all need friends we can run to when life gets ugly

 Navigating adult friendships (Photo: iStock)

I cheat on my friends. I know – that did not come out very well, but it was not meant to. You see, I am not that woman who has just one best friend (hereafter frequently referred to as bosom-buddy). Truth is, I do not have a big bosom, but size does not matter when it comes to accommodating multiple girlfriends.

They cheat on me too. Fortunately, by a stroke of genius of what I believe is our ability to carefully choose people we surround ourselves with, we all get along famously when once in a while we all hook up for a good gossip and drunken session. My friends, like my family, play a very vital role in my existence, and I refuse to even consider a life without them; they re-ignite my zest for life.

That was why, when I read a Facebook post on a popular page, about somebody who was going through a dark marital stage, bad enough that she needed to leave her husband with immediate effect, but she had no money, and she was asking strangers for help because she did not want her friends to know, it nearly took me out. So I asked, ‘Why can you not ask your friends for help? Isn’t that what friends are for?’

Apparently, not. That took me right out because it sounded like just the kind of issue I would make a conference call to my bosom buddies for. But, from sub-comments on my comment, it would seem that it is a popular opinion, that you cannot trust (women) friends, because they betray you, will talk about you behind your back. They judge you. Now I was seriously flat out. For starters, if I was going through a problem that urgent, I would not be worried about keeping up appearances; I would beg them and plead for help, and if anyone wants to judge, gossip or betray me, they can consider that as payment.

How bruised are we? Are we that terrible as a people? How can people lose trust so much in those close to them, that they prefer to beg faceless strangers on social media, for help? What in the world are we doing to one another out there? A bosom buddy is defined as a close, intimate friend, one who always got your back, and who you do and share everything with.

That post made me sad. I thought about my bosom-buddies. The good and bad times we have shared. The dark holes we have pulled one another out of. I could not imagine going through some of the stuff I have gone through, without them.

Was I reasoning from a point of privilege? In my multiple decades on earth, I have been lucky. Even when I have fallen out with some bosom buddies, even when we have drifted apart, I can trace them from primary school, and I have never regretted any of those friendships.

I value meaningful friendships, and I cannot be the only one who cringes when I see people proudly declaring how ‘they do not female friends’, or how ‘women are their own worst enemies’. Everybody needs a bosom buddy; more so women. If you are a woman, and you have at some point uttered either or both of the above vile statements, stop it, because women are not the problem, you are.

You get what you give to the world. Mostly. Give bad vibes, and get them back in equal measure. Every action has an equal reaction. Then again, even from my point of privilege, I recognise there are people who have been terribly betrayed by friends.

It is hard to heal from a betrayal, but we cannot go punishing people who had nothing to do with the betrayal. You cannot let a few despicable humans make your life lonely, for a life without a bosom buddy or two, is a lonely one. Get yourself a personal friend.

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