It’s My Round……

Do you have a local, a bar or a coffee shop where you can walk in and be sure of finding someone that you know? You can sit down for 10 minutes or a couple of hours and just chat with people about anything and nothing. If you’re feeling down they’ll buy you a drink and listen to your woes and you do the same for them if they’re having a rough day. Do you know a place like that?

Do you have a local, a bar or a coffee shop where you can walk in and be sure of finding someone that you know? You can sit down for 10 minutes or a couple of hours and just chat with people about anything and nothing. If you’re feeling down they’ll buy you a drink and listen to your woes and you do the same for them if they’re having a rough day. Do you know a place like that?

For me, that place is here on WP; granted there is no-one serving drinks (something for the marketing department to think about!) but there is everything else that I love about a local. It’s warm and comfortable with a constant stream of chatter and laughter. What makes it even better is that I don’t have to think about what I’m going to wear (be honest haven’t you chatted with your WP buddies in your PJ’s before now) and I have zero social anxiety (always a big plus).

FriendshipIn just a few months I have made friends with people who come into this bar from all over the World, (that’s you guys by the way). You are funny, patient, kind, loving, charming, understanding and completely non-judgmental. You are always there with a comforting word, some wise advice and a virtual hug on the days when I need it most.

I have felt your suffering as you made yourself vulnerable, shared your deepest fears and doubts; at those moments it feels so natural to hold you and tell you that you are loved. I have laughed with you as you recounted hilarious tales about your life. We have even chatted about politics and religion with calm and pleasant interest in each others opinions. You’ve shared poetry which made me weep and verse that filled me with joy.

I have learned from you, each and every one of you so, if you stop by the bar today, I’d like to buy you a drink, give you a hug and say thank you.

Lisa x

Friends

No, not the awesomely brilliant TV series, you. Are you one of those that has an abundance of friends? Do you walk into bars and everybody knows your name, are you hailed by 20 people as you walk half a mile down the street? Perhaps you’re a loner or you don’t like opening up to others and therefore only have a select few but very close friends?

No, not the awesomely brilliant TV series, you. Are you one of those that has an abundance of friends? Do you walk into bars and everybody knows your name, are you hailed by 20 people as you walk half a mile down the street? Perhaps you’re a loner or you don’t like opening up to others and therefore only have a select few but very close friends?

I fall into the second category simply because I really, really don’t like meeting new people (brain empties itself and all saliva disappears simultaneously) and because it takes me a very long time to share anything ‘real’ about myself. However, yesterday I understood the benefits of being a friend to everyone.

IMG_6123I was with my best friend and we’d gone over to Saint Jean Cap-Ferrat for lunch and then had a lovely walk along the shore, took some photos, I fell over my flip flops once or twice; a not untypical day. Anyway, after half and hour or so of strolling around we decided to go back to the car (actually it was more a case that I was sweating so much I feared I would dissolve and demanded that we go back to the tiny air-conditioned sanctuary that is my car).

My face close enough to the vents to get my eyelashes sucked in, I turned the key in the ignition and……nothing other than a slightly embarrassed coughing noise. My car was poorly! Fortunately, my best friend knows everyone and within 10 minutes a lovely young guy arrived with a set of jump leads. Not only that, after another brief conversation in high speed French (there isn’t really any other kind to be honest) with another friend, an appointment had been made and we were on our way to the nearest Fiat dealership.

An hour later I was back at home with my car restored to full health. Had I been alone it would have been a very different story. While I have learned enough French to have a reasonable conversation, my knowledge does not extend to explaining that my car is telling me to check something and refusing to start. I don’t know what I was supposed to be checking but there was an exclamation mark so I assume it was important. Added to that I have virtually zero sense of direction so there would have been a very slim chance that I could have guided someone to me who did have said knowledge.

So, what would I have done? Panicked, lost every atom of moisture in my body while waiting for someone to rescue me (it was really warm yesterday), berated myself for learning the French words for shoes and boots but not engine and gearbox? No, I’d have called my best friend of course :O)

Whether you have 100’s or just one or two, value your friends because you never know when you’ll need them. Thanks Will :O)

What do you love most about your best friend? I’d love to hear from you.

Lisa x

Yes, your bum does look big in that

Did your hairdresser have a psychotic episode when you were in the chair? That’s the only excuse I can think of for that hairstyle!

Have you ever been perfectly honest when people ask you a question that you’d really prefer not to answer? The type of question that makes you think ‘nooooooooooooo!’ Does my bum look big in this? What do you think of my new hairstyle? Do you think that I should marry Darren? I think most of us take the kindly friend route which enables us to answer the question without risking any hurt feelings:

  1. You’re so pretty it doesn’t matter what you wear
  2. Oh wow! Amazing! That’s a big change for you isn’t it
  3. The only thing that matters to me is that you’re happy

What would happen if we said what we actually thought:Crazy hsir

  1. Frankly your arse, in those trousers, looks like two puppies fighting in a sack – what were you thinking?
  2. Did your hairdresser have a psychotic episode when you were in the chair? That’s the only excuse I can think of for that hairstyle!
  3. I can’t stand Darren and I think it will be the biggest mistake of your life if you marry him.

Big bumWe would probably find that our circle of friends diminished pretty quickly but why? Logically, when someone asks our opinion it’s because they want an honest answer no? Not really, what people want is verification of their own opinion or they don’t trust their own opinion so they look to someone else to confirm that they’ve made the right decision when they’re not sure. When people have doubts they look for affirmation and support but are we really do the best for them by acquiescing?

Whether you think someone’s bum looks big or their new hairstyle doesn’t suit them is really not  going to be life changing in the course of most friendships but what about relationships? What do you do if you know for a fact that Darren is incapable of keeping it in his trousers and cheated on his last 3 girlfriends? If your friend really loves this guy would she believe you if you told her what you know? What if she already knew about his previous girlfriends but is 100% convinced that Darren was a reformed character? Will she stand by her man no matter what and turn on you because you ‘tried to ruin her relationship’? Is it better to be Switzerland in these situations and stay neutral?

Angry womanThe fact is that none of us knows how someone will respond to our true opinions because most of us so rarely offer them if they’re negative. We don’t want to risk hurting our friends but we also don’t want to draw their ire so we say nothing and brace ourselves for the fall-out should everything go wrong. The only problem with that, in the Darren scenario for example, is that the floods of tears and the vows to tear Darren limb from limb will inevitably be followed by ‘why didn’t you tell me?’ Therefore, it’s often pretty much the case that you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

So, being brutally honest doesn’t work and lying through your teeth in the name of friendship doesn’t work so what should you do? In my opinion the only way way to keep your integrity and your friends is to be honest but kind with it and keep your fingers crossed that your friends are actually good enough friends to accept a little well meant criticism every now and again. It also helps if you follow the criticism with a little bit of flattery.

  1. To be honest, those trousers are not the most flattering thing I’ve seen you wear; the dress you had on last night, for example was gorgeous on you…
  2. To be honest, I preferred your hair the way it was before but that’s just my taste – I prefer long hair…
  3. To be honest, I know a few of Darren’s previous girlfriends and they all told me that he cheated on them; maybe things will be different with you but I thought you ought to know.

What should you do if you want someone’s honest opinion? Just ask them, tell them that you wont be offended but then don’t be if they don’t tell you what you want to hear. Alternatively, have confidence in your own judgement and always look at your bum in the mirror before you buy a pair of trousers ;O)