A good friend of mine got me thinking yesterday about what makes friendship and how we make those connections with other people. For many of us there are lots of acquaintances we have or people we know but only a few do we really class as friends. Even with the growth of social media and the many hundreds of additional connections we make there are still only a small group of people that reach that elevated position of being friends.
The friend that started these musings is someone I worked with briefly many years ago and have kept in touch with. Her view was that friendships that are forged under fire are the ones that last the longest. It is a good point and made me reflect.
Working in policing means there are many difficult and challenging times, and you share them with a small group of colleagues. It is these times that may mean working very long hours, dealing with upsetting events, and to do your work despite all the problems. Many of my closest friends come from those who I have shared some of the most difficult experiences in the office.
Some of this may also be the reason why I often refer to the team at work as my dysfunctional family. It feels as though they have become even stronger friends and are almost family. We look out for each other, help each other, celebrate with each other and try to have some laughs along the way. We have faced ups and downs at work and also in our personal lives, but we share the experiences and it brings us even closer together.
I think some of this is much more evident when working in the emergency services environment. It is probably because you have to trust people really quickly and build a strong bond to make sure you can get through the day. However, there are a few former work colleagues from before I joined policing that have become friends.
The key to strong friendship is that you have been together when things were bad as well as good, and have been through the ups and downs. Life is a rollercoaster and to get through it we need support when things are not good but also people alongside us to enjoy the good times.
So Anne, you are right. The friendships that last are often those borne from significant challenges. I have to say thank you to all those people I have shared both good and bad times; I am privileged to call you my friends.