Moving to New Zealand, I left behind a close circle of really good friends and a lot more friends who had touched my life in various ways.
Those who have moved to another country, giving up pretty much everything, know how this feels. Alienating in a way. Humbling in another. A bit powerless too.
For many years here, I was happy with the status quo. Noel was now my life. I slotted in with his friends and that was that.
But after my Grandpa died, I felt that making my own friends, and friends more my age, would be healthy. To be honest, I couldn’t go on being the social hermit any more; I felt it was ageing me too quick and killing me.
So Noel and I put an advert on a few Internet sites, like NZDating (yes, people meet friends there too… it’s not all dodgy slutty stuff), to meet some new friends.
Noel and I met both Adam and Dave O. on there, both of whom have become such wonderful friends who, to be honest, I don’t know what I’d do without.
But for every success there are probably ten failures.
One example was a few years back (around Christmas) a guy who seemed nice contacted us; he, like us, was looking for friends. As a part of that, we exchanged photos.
Do you know what he said?
Basically, I wasn’t good looking enough to be his friend.
Sorry, I didn’t realise friendship involved a beauty contest.
I didn’t realise I needed to be Marcus Schenkenberg or Brad Pitt to be a friend.
I didn’t realise friendship was purely based on how hot I was and how much my stunningness would reflect and enhance your own.
Friendship, to me, is obviously a totally different concept than it was for him.
But the story doesn’t end there!
Shopping for Christmas cards at Merivale Mall — and Noel had wandered off to look at CDs, I think — I bumped into this guy. He proceeded to say, yeah, maybe we should meet up and be friends. I retorted that I thought I wasn’t beautiful enough to be his friend, but he replied the picture didn’t do me justice.
Do you know what I told him?
Friendship, to me, means finding someone you have a connection and things in common with. Friends are there when you need them, during the good times and the bad, and lend an ear when you need someone to talk to. They give you advice, sometimes candidly, but that’s what you need to hear. And they add to your memories with good times, love and laughter.
So to those friends who touched my life in the US, thank you. For the friends who stood by me through thick and thin, you mean the world to me. The friends in New Zealand, the few and far between ones, thank you for standing by me, even in my darkest or stubbornest of hours. All those friends I’ve met on the journey through my life: you rock. I’ve lost contact with some friends, but they still deserve a thank you. And to the friends I have yet to meet… I look forward to it.
I didn’t realise how blessed with wonderful friends I am. And for that, I’m truly grateful.