I have been working through The Real Good Writer’s DNA lately, exploring what I can do to improve my writing skills. Having been ‘to the deep, dark places of [my] brain’ one of the themes that has emerged is how much joy I get from being with my friends and I have been following the exercises through and reflecting on these friendships.
I’m not ashamed to say that I need my friends and in many respects the Real Good Writer’s DNA exercise didn’t tell me anything I didn’t know. Times with friends are lots of fun, they make me laugh, they introduce me to new experiences and perspectives, they keep my feet on the ground and my friends have gifted me with a large bundle of happy memories. However clever and resourceful I occasionally think I am, friends have helped me get through tough times, put things in to perspective when I have lost the plot and when I put myself down my friends will point out my strengths.
I was aware of how much I enjoy being with my friends but I hadn’t realised how deep this went and I was surprised how strongly this came out of the Real Good Writer’s DNA exercise. I am not a woman who has lots of friends; my ‘best friend’ is certainly Mr BOTRA and I am comfortable with my own company but the friends I have I truly value. The workbook encourages deeper reflection on themes and I also started to explore how and why I always keep something back from my friends and try not to smother them and make too many demands on their time and energy.
That said, I don’t hang on to friends no matter what and I have no time for ‘toxic’ friends. We all know who these are and we sometimes hang on to them for commendably loyal or sentimental reasons. These might be judgemental (rather than critical) friends, negative friends and friends I cannot trust. These sort of ‘friends’ sap my energy and I have learnt it is best to let go of them.
As a child I learnt about friendship through books, including AA Milne’s Winnie the Pooh [a firm favourite] and what better place to learn about love and friendship than in those beautiful stories:
‘I knew when I met you an adventure was going to happen.’ AA Milne