Last week in la Repubblica there was an article about how young people today tend to skip out the best friend phase of social development and rely on groups and gangs for their relationships.
From my Teachers training years I remember from the Child Psychology lessons that the best friend was a great preparation for having a life partner, husband or wife. This seemed quite logical, the fun and complicity and shared secrets and jokes, having someone who would always stick up for you and defend you, protect you, share your enthusiasm and generally care about you, these are all qualities we hope for in a spouse (apart from the obvious ones like love and dot dot dot as they say in Mamma Mia).
The group phase helps us learn how to adapt to the complicated society we live in and to develop into a well integrated individual who is able to undertake in the community the responsibility for which his gifts are suited ... there !! now you can tell I went to Teachers training college ha ha)
Each phase of my upbringing seems to have had a suitable best friend. In early childhood I played with my brother, cousins and the local children. Grandma would always say to me things like "if you want to have a friend you've got to be one", and "it doesn't matter whether or not people like you Angie, it's do you like them?", "Yes !! - I'd wail - I like everybody", How wonderful to be a grown up and not suffer any more from the hurt that friends can cause....
One thing is certain, that when you have a full time commitment, or life time partner, they must be your best friend.
Apart from my brother, parents and wonderful relations, my best friend was definitely Ian, the boy next door. He was 2 years younger than me but we had the same sense of humour and he was very brave and this helped me a lot because I was scared of everything. Next came Kathleen who lived on a farm and had 6 brothers and sisters. She and her little brother Raymond and I walked home from school every day and looked after each other. At the High School I had a best friend at school and one at home so there were no conflicts. My best friend at home was Eileen, she was very kind and caring and we had a lot of fun together. Her Dad took us to see West Side Story and we giggled madly evry time they burst into song. Grandpa took us to Wycombe market together to buy us our first mini skirts, one pale blue for her, dark blue for me - like Oxford and Cambrodge he said. Eileen can still remember how kind Grandpa was, also how he wouldn't leave to go on holiday even though the car was packed and the ferry booked, on that amazing day in 1966 when England eventually beat Germany and won the World cup at Wembley.
My best friend at school was Linda, she was very advanced for her years and had 3 little brothers and a baby sister so she was very maternal. She would tell me all about her adventures in the barn with Dave it was all very interesting and fascinating and also extremely remote to me at 12. Linda's dad was in the RAF so they moved away.
When we moved to Marlow I moved on to the group phase and thanks to Uncle Peter's popularity we had lots of really nice friends and did exciting things like have "gatherings"...This involved us going to each others houses, drinking coffee or cider and having a lot of fun.
I had 2 special friends then, Pam and Elaine, but they were not exclusive friendships any more, we were quite happy to go about with other people too.
At Teachers training college I did have a best friend, Rosie. She is from the North, and the minute I met her I thought how lovely it would be to be her friend. Even now when we see each other it is like being 19 again, we always say how important we were to each other, just 3 years but so informative and life shaping.Everybody wanted to be Rosie s friend, she was always kind and fun. It took her a long time to find her life partner, she got married at 51, but probably because she really wanted to find A Best Friend and Roger certainly is.
This is probably long enough for today - I've just read Blogging for Dummies...