Being an expat has taught me a lot of things. Moving from one place to another requires starting over in many areas including finding new friends. While discouraging at times, it has given me a whole new understanding of what makes a great friend. The anatomy of a friend so-to-speak!
I am one of those people who values quality over quantity. Err, in other words, I don't have a million friends. And my Facebook 'friend' list is well below 100. Twitter and Pinterest are even more shocking...
I have some amazing friends who have stuck with me through a lot. Here are the things that make my friends so wonderful (PS - My very first infographic! Please be kind...).
-- You Can Pick Up Where You Left Off --
It could be weeks, months or even a year before I have a nice long catch up with some of my friends. But with the most real of friends, you can pick up where you left off. It feels like no time has passed at all. Even though we don't speak to each other every day, we think of each other often and that makes all the difference.
-- They Support & Encourage You --
I've been through a lot of changes in my life in the past few years. The most caring and solid friends I have are the ones who have supported and encouraged me along the way. In fact, I'd put money on the fact that they are reading this post right now. Because blogging is a hobby I love, and they know that. Just like they know I'll support whatever they are passionate about. That's being a real friend.
-- They Are There Through the Highs & Lows --
Of course I got loads of phone calls, emails and well wishes when little man was born. But what about after the newness fades away? When you've gone through a tough time, or conversely, you've had a little but important victory in life? A real friend is there for that too. They don't disappear when you need them most.
One of the best things a friend has ever done for me was recording a video of her daughter singing happy birthday to my little man. I'll never forget it. Sometimes the little things mean the most.
-- They Are Honest in a Loving Way --
Toilet paper hanging from your knickers? Food in your teeth? A boyfriend who treats you like sh*t? Not if your friend has something to say about it. I always try to surround myself with people who are not only positive, but honest. You've all heard it, the truth hurts (sometimes). But somehow it doesn't hurt as much when it comes from a real friend. Someone you trust.
So that's what makes my friends so special and amazing. That same standard is what makes it so hard to find new friends in new places. But I don't give up. I meet amazing new people all the time. Gee, I'm feeling really mushy now.