Often, childhood friendships disintegrate into nothingness. It’s no one’s fault, there’s no huge fight or grand betrayal – but the friendships that once were the most comfortable things in the world start to feel too tight, like the favourite shoes you bought years ago and now are two sizes too small.
‘It’s natural,’ your mum tells you. ‘People outgrow each other,’ your dad says. And they’re right, of course. Some friendships don’t last.
But some do.
These friendships, the ones that started in sandpits when some kid looked at you and didn’t immediately smash your sandcastle with their foot? They’re pretty damn special. So while it might be hard to keep up childhood friendships once you stop seeing each other every day at school or when you actually have to arrange to get together rather than being able to rely on your mums to sort it out, there are a lot of reasons you should hang in there and go the distance with a longterm friendship. For example…
1. They can always help unpack the dishwasher in your house, because they know where everything goes better than you do.
2. You have permanent and inalienable rights to their wardrobe.
3. And they won’t get too cross if you spill on their best top, because, let’s be honest, they’ve done the exact same thing to you.
4. You don’t have to explain your weird Uncle Frederick to them because they know your weird Uncle Frederick. In fact, they sat next to him last year at your birthday dinner and had a nice chat about the Romans.
5. They will be honest and tell you that no, you won’t suit a fringe.
6. And they’ll be sympathetic when you ignore them and get the fringe anyway, and end up completely hating it.
7. You can call them to ask them the name of your primary school librarian.
8. And if they don’t know the answer, at least they’ll be able to share in your frustration.
9. Let’s be honest, who remembers their sixth birthday? You never know, your long-term BFF might.
10. You can sit with them in silence for ages without ever being uncomfortable.
11. And you can be as weird as you like, without worrying that they’re going to stop being your friend.
12. Because these are people who’ve probably seen you pee your pants. At least once.
13. They never forget your birthday because it’s seared into their memory as deeply as their own.
14. You have childhood photos of each other that you can make into pretty collages.
15. Or use for blackmail.
16. They know the name of your childhood toy.
17. And that you still like to cuddle it when you’re ill or sad.
18. They won’t judge you for what subjects you choose in school, what career you aspire to or what grades you get – they knew you long before any of these things even mattered.
19. And maybe most importantly? Because they’ve loved you at every stage of your life; when you were missing your two front teeth or you couldn’t tie your shoes. They’ve loved you when you couldn’t even spell your own name, let alone write it down. They’ve loved you when you called them crying at 2am or when you’ve given them a hideous cold by sneezing in their face accidentally.
Long-term friendships don’t always work out, but when they do they’re amazing. If you’re lucky enough to get the chance, maybe you should give them a try.
Image: Hailey Hamilton