Sunday, 18 January 2009

Weekend with Liz and reflections on friendship

This is the second weekend that I have been in Paris since Christmas and on both weekends I have had houseguests!

Last week Sarah and David, my newlywed friends, came to Paris. Marc was also here and it was so wonderful to be able to spend time with them and him. Sarah and David are such a fun couple, so in love, so intelligent, so witty and I enjoyed seeing them together and was so glad that Marc was there with me. We had wonderful walks in the Marais and in St Germain, ate copious amounts of cake in Laduree and went to a mouth watering Parisian market on Sunday. What more could I ask for?

Marc was in charge of photo-taking last weekend, and there are some great ones, but I haven't received them yet. Can't wait to share our adventures soon!

This weekend my close high school friend, Liz, visited me in Paris. I was really pleased to spend this weekend with her and chat intimately and have girl time! In London it has sadly been so difficult to find the time, particularly when I was working crazy hours at the firm. Liz and Miriam and I have been friends since school, yet over the past few years, since we left university, our friendships have changed and this has caused hurt and friction at times. It boils down to how we have developed and changed. We went to different universities and had very different experieces, it has to do with new friends and different lives, with boyfriends we've liked or not liked, with different career aspirations and paths, with the struggle to adjust our expectations of each other and accept a new dynamic as we transform from girls to women. It hasn't always been easy, which is why this weekend was important and good.

I am reminded of a wonderful post by Aletha a while back in which she wrote about the advice her mother gave her on friendship before she married. I can't find the exact post, unfortunately, but Aletha's wise mother reminded her not to neglect her friendships when she got married, not to forget to nurture them. Of course, she said it better than I could. I have been guilty of not making enough effort, and I want to address that. I need to spend less time at home, less time with my parents and with Marc, I need to initiate more. I feel that if we neglect our friendships now they will not be there when we reemerge from our relationships or careers.

But that requires work from all sides and work, as we all know, is not easy. For my schoolfriends and me, it is a time of defining our lives and redefining our friendships. A time to try harder, yet also a time for acceptance. A time for confrontation and a time to listen. Liz and I stayed up so late talking and I think that despite the fact that we have known each other for a long time we managed to learn more about each other this weekend, which is pretty amazing don't you think?

Have any of you had defining moments with old friends? Times of friction, times of trying to figure out how to live a new life? How have you kept old friends even when your lives have changed, mixed old friends with new, did you encounter difficulties or was it natural... I would appreciate and love to hear any of your thoughts, ideas and experiences.


Anonymous said...

Your reflections on friendship are exactly what I have been thinking about lately. I have been so bad about keeping in touch withe some friends and I always worry that when I do finally get in touch they will no longer be there. Especially with best friends. And you are right, as you get older, move to different cities, experience different things, the friendships changes. I think all the change can be a good thing though, because you learn which friends are your friends. Like which friends are willing to grow with you even though you are each growing in different directions; and which friends are unable to accept the changes you have made in your life and the ways in which you have grown. Friendship is definitely a work in progress at times. But ultimately it is a wonderful thing. I have a friend from high school whom I lost touch with about 8 years ago and over the holiday season we got in touch and had the most wonderful reunion. It felt like a day hadn't gone by since we last spoke. It was a brilliant time and I really do think we will wind of staying in touch this time.

aletha jo said...

Vanessa--the post was on my Pearls Events blog here (

Sounds like you had SUCH a great time!

Vanessa said...

To Anonymous and Aletha - thank you so much for the thoughtful, insightful response and the post that got me thinking. I really appreciate your comments. x