Women my age spend a lot of time worrying about relationships. Nearly always, these big time-consuming ponderings are on romantic ones, whether at the first-date to seven-year-itch stage. Recently, I’ve been thinking more about my important friendships, the ones that have defined and shaped me, helped me get through things and been the big, starring roles in my mostly-single twenties. I recently celebrated the hen-do send-off of a really great friend who I’d been through a lot of ‘single girl’ times with, and felt as emotional writing her a message about it as I would have done thinking about an ex-love moving on. I took a trip to Cornwall with a schoolfriend, stayed up talking about love and life and the logistics of it all, and felt in such great company being single in my late twenties, going through it alongside such a cool, cultured, stylish person. I also took a road trip with another more recent friend, laughed a lot, and felt I got to know her so much better. All of these females deserve a whole blog post (I may make this a series), but I’m going to write about a fellow blogger, instead.
Here are some reasons why my friend Sian is the closest I’ve come to a soulmate – and perhaps the most surprising friend to do so.
1. I wasn’t sure I was going to like her when I met her
And I’m sure the feeling was mutual. Who was this perky, energetic girl who was constantly dashing off on adventures and so keen to share them? Did we have anything in common? Were we really going to spend nine months (learning about journalism) together? The answers were: Sian; yes; yes, and many more years and life lessons beyond. I liked her about half an hour after thinking that, and I’ve liked her more and more every day since. Big lesson: the best friendships aren’t always an instant lightning bolt.
2. In many ways, we’re polar opposites
She’s super outdoorsy; I like a scented candle, a cable-knit throw and chick flick. (Once she’d established her excellent blog The Girl Outdoors, I joked that we should pitch a twin travel column: the girl outdoors and the girl indoors.) But in many ways we’re right on the same track: having adventures, stressing out about career moves and relationship bumps-in-the-road, ambitious and hungry for experience, opinionated and bound to ruffle a feather or two. It soothes me to know I have a kindred spirit, a soul sister, in this competitive industry. We listen to each other’s work woes (everyone else: STOP MOANING, YOU HAVE A DREAM JOB), give honest advice, never judge, rave about each other’s successes and help each other out whenever we can. I’m so happy that she was there (and also receiving a prize) on one of my proudest nights ever, when I won a couple of industry awards. I had just that week had my heart annihilated by a completely unworthy boy, and I couldn’t feel the joy at all, but she helped me focus in on what was happening there and then. Here’s us looking supremely coupley in the back row of the winners’ shot:
3. She’s made me pick up the phone
I am so bad on the phone. I think lots of our generation are. But we have a solid ‘call you next week?’ policy that was entirely driven by her. I’ve called her on trains, sniffly with boy-disappointment, and from central London, giddy with new-job adrenaline. Having someone to call like that, when you don’t have a boyfriend – and someone with a better and more loving reaction than most boyfriends – is a rare and beautiful thing. I never feel like I’m bragging, bitching, ranting or crowing. It’s all good sharing.
4. I’m in awe of her
You should always be in awe of your friends. And I am of most. But trilingual, award-winning, volunteering, travelling, jobbing-and-blogging journalist Sian takes it to a new level. I’m always proud of her ventures and she makes me want to journey farther and achieve more myself. Why would I be on a mission for a man when I could be on multiple missions for dizzying views, heart-racing activities, knowledge, power, worldwide friends and, yes, romance, all at once? This is the Sian-forged path, and I hope to stay on it.
5. She’s silly
In lieu of a lengthy ode to our silliness, I shall post this arousing glamour shot and leave it at that.
6. Men love her
Sian has taught me that glowing cheeks, windswept hair, a mischievous smile and radiant ease with yourself are what really bring all the boys to the yard. Milkshakes be damned.
7. She’s my most (only) loyal reader
If I had a blog post for every time Sian nudged me to keep blogging on here, I’d have… a much better, more regularly-updated site. It not only warms my cockles to feel like my waffling is a decent read, it’s truly helpful and much needed. Clearly (*watches tumbleweed blow across the vast wasteland of my latest blog-free spell*).
8. She’s cuddly
Ah, a Sian cuddle. There are few better cuddlers, if you ask me. We have been known to run towards each other, mouths open Muppet-wide, across stations and fields after a few months apart. It helps that she tends to wear snuggly, chunky-knit jumpers in winter, which we all know is the secret to cuddle Nirvana.
9. We make wonderful memories
My memories of the past five years with Sian are already some of my favourite ever. Drinking red wine in clifftop hot tubs, whipped by salty sea breeze, in Cornwall; wandering Bristol on sunny afternoons on my many weekend escapes there; laughing til my insides hurt at three consecutive country-cottage birthday getaways; an impromptu photo shoot in matching animal beanies; walking her dreamy dogs in the evening sun through Andalucian farmland; dancing like maniacs at a wedding reception she was my date to; hugging and cry-laughing the day my sister announced to us she was expecting my much-wanted niece. All these and many more are treasured, vivid times.
10. She is always there when I need her
We say throwaway things like this so often that they sound like a Hallmark cliché, but this one is so true that I get a bit teary thinking about it. She has spent both Valentine’s Days and New Years with me, armed with wine, in my darkest moments, when I was a true, crumbling mess. Even when there were important men vying for her company. Even deciding practically on the day and ditching former plans in favour of expensive trains and the sight of my puffy face. And I would do the same in a heartbeat.
So there I’ll leave my gushiest ‘addiction’ yet: adventures with Sian. I wouldn’t trade her for fifty eligible sperm-deliverers sculpted in the image of Bradley Cooper. I hope that, whoever else dares to come into our lives and meet our standards (!), we will still be sitting in courtyard bars, drinking gin and snorting with laughter, for many decades to come.