Fragile (Handle With Care)

Friendships are and forever will be a very delicate commodity. I will be the first to admit I have not treated my friendships with the respect they deserve. Perhaps for a long time, but in recent times, I have just not made the time I should. Today or more importantly from this weekend, I shall be trying my best to re-connect with many people I call friends. Most of whom perhaps would feel I do not deserve to be called a friend in return, as my recent actions have been anything but friendly.


Friends come and go but it is the strong few that remain. Sorry, trying to paraphrase very badly the lyrics from Wear Sunscreen. When I was in the final months of college and about to embark on this adventure called University, I had this rose-tinted ideal of the friends I would keep and the friends that would fade away. The reality was very different, within a few years that whole friendship circle had all but disappeared and I had new friends at University. Reverse back a few years, to Christmas 1998, I recall being at my place of work (a local petrol station) one evening, working with an older member of staff. She got a call (on the land line – a little early before the mobile phone market ballooned) from a life long friend, arranging New Year’s Eve meal. When she put the phone down, she said she had known this person for thirty-two years. The length of the friendship alone was not the most interesting point she made to me. She added, “Hopefully your will look back at as many years of friendship with Daniel…” My colleague, but more importantly best friend whom I had got to know towards the later part of my days at my secondary school. Our friendship age, at that point in time, was perhaps as few as two and half years. It would not last another five. In July 2002, I saw Daniel for the last time at his rented house to the south of Reading and little did I know that I would not see him again for over five years. My friendship requests on Facebook would go unanswered, even though we have just under thirty mutual friends. I can keep waiting, life, after all, is too short.

While some may say that Facebook has been the magic bullet to bring many people back in touch, I tend to disagree. I feel Facebook, in particular, has created a very blurry line between those we call friends and those who are merely acquaintances. That is not to say I have not got back in touch with people from my past, most of whom I had completely forgotten from middle school, secondary school and other previous jobs. A colleague on placement once said to me that she had forgotten all about her school days. I was puzzled by this but the realised that it takes a big change for a person to forget what has come before. For me, this was meeting Michelle, but that was only part of the bigger picture of returning home after my year in Newbury and starting the search for a new job. Some may say this is where all the trouble started.

I want to point out a new link on my blog roll (I know I do not really update it as often as I used to back in the HTML days – mainly because blogging is becoming a bit old fashioned these days, what with micro blogging!). I went to college with David, he was one of the quiet people in my social group, but always entertaining and funny when given the limelight. I was pleasantly surprised and proud of his many achievements from reading his blog, since we parted company in the summer of the first year of this century. I would never have known an A-Level Classics student would go on to achieve so much and be so humble in those achievements. If I look back at the past ten years, my achievements are few and far between in comparison. Written a book, appeared as an expert on television, traveled around the world? You can follow David on Twitter as well as a YouTube channel. Although I have done the usual thing of adding David on Facebook and sending him the odd tweet, I have not actually got back in touch properly so will drop him a line over the weekend.

Sitting here, thinking what I should do next is not easy. Yes much more effort is required but sometimes you need to know if you are barking up the wrong tree. This is a life-changing year for me. Ultimately I want to share these good times with my friends. I just hope they have the heart to forgive me and let me share in their happiness too.

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