I felt a need to write this piece based on a number of things that have happened recently. I have never been one to take friendships lightly. I believe friends are an important fixture in my life. I think in many ways my friends and when we met are a reflection of where we each were mentally, emotionally and physically at that time.
One of my oldest friends I met in primary school and over the years we have been able to maintain our friendship. We probably aren't as close as we were when we roamed the corridors of our primary and high schools sharing to die for secrets about the boys we liked and the ones we positively dispised because they teased us mercilessly.
I then look at the women I met as a teenager and throughout my adult life. I know when I met them I never anticipated the paths we each would travel.
I look at my closest friends - the small group of women I have let into my inner circle - as the closest I could possibly have to a sister. I don't have a sister but I am positive beyond a shadow of a doubt that she would have been my absolute best friend.
The lady who does my hair was having a frank and candid discussion with me about a few things that are going on in her life and let me know in no uncertain terms that she didn't see me just as a client but I had stepped into her friends circle. I thought about what she said. On the other hand I wouldn't have categorised her as a friend - more of an acquaintance.
Is my definition of friendship too stringent? Should I be a little more relaxed in how I see friendship? What constitutes a friend?
By my definition, a friend is someone you have shared life's ups and downs with and whom you can call in the middle of the night with a crisis and know that if need be she (or he) will be on a plane the next day to help.
I truly value the friends I have in my life. I know my life wouldn't have been as rich without their knowledge, wisdom, guidance and humor and for them I am truly grateful.
I read somewhere many years ago that strangers are friends waiting to be met.
I also believe that my friends should be friends with each other because I know they would love one another the way I love each of them. I look at the women in my inner circle and realise how much they are alike and I draw strength from the knowledge that I have to exhibit a few of those qualities for them in turn to have befriend me.
I am truly grateful to each person who calls me friend because my friends make up the rich fabric of my life and in many cases have become an extension of my family. As one friend described me, the sister (or brother) my mom didn't give birth to.