Wednesday, 26 February 2014


One of the first friendship books I received.
My little grandson is going through a phase when he has discovered the joy of having friends. He locks them in a half- Nelson and announces to all around " This is my friend".  He's already learning that friends can have other friends. It isn 't like a family, when you stick together and that's that. Friends pick and choose. They like doing the same things and tend to have things in common, and hopefully like you and being with you. My granddaughter is learning that if you tell secrets to your best friend you risk having them blurted out to other friends. She has decided to be careful with her secrets.
I have got a box where I keep all the cards and  letters from friends. It is wonderful to look through and read the nice things written there. It's not always easy to make friends and that is where clubs and organized groups with common interests can be a great comfort. Sport, art, music, knitting, gliding, all sorts of things bring people together and can help loneliness.

I have got a close friend who cannot bear being kept waiting, and she has encouraged me to be careful about punctuality. I thought of her while reading this:

How not to treat a friend
Few things tend more to alienate friendship than a want of punctuality in our engagements. I have known the breach of a promise to dine or sup to break up more than one intimacy.
(William Hazlitt essayist, 1778-1830)
Way back in the Roman times,first century AD, Phaedrus wrote:
Give up time to your friends, be at leisure to your wife, relax your mind, give rest to your body, so that you may the better fulfil your accustomed occupation.

A hedge between, keeps friendship green.
This proverb seems to me to imply not only physical boundaries, but a respectful distance with regard to all things, opinions, behaviour, anything personal.

The effect of social networking is talked about a lot, it is ten years since Facebook started and it seems to be a life line for those with friends and relations spread around the world.
James Howe 15931666, would probably approve of it. He wrote:
Friendship is the great chain of human society and writing letters is one of the chiefest links of that chain.

When I was at school we had pen-friends. We would write letters to people the same age, who we never met. I had pen-friends in America, Australia and France, and looked forward to their letters telling me all about their lives, quite different from mine.

For the moment though, my grandchildren are happiest running round the park with their friends.

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