Rigtige venner kan ej købes for penge

Sunday afternoons, there was this program on the radio when we grew up, where people sent through song requests – as part of celebrating someone’s anniversary or birthday or just giving a shout out to a friend.

As youngsters, we made fun of it, and especially of their song choices – real classics.

One of the frequent choices was “Rigtige venner kan ej købes for penge” – reminding us that friendships can’t be bought.

I thought of this recently as I was doing a real, good clean-up. When did you last do a real, good clean-up? Whether at home or at work in the folders and cloud-based structures? One of those where you go through the stuff you thought was very important in the last clean-up a decade ago. And now, because life and business changes, because we change and our focus changes – maybe a lot of those things could move on, be recycled, be deleted, be chucked out.

Moving house or office often triggers the need to clear out. But if we are not moving anywhere, the risk is that we just keep paying for more storage online or physically.

Here I was clearing out, and in a keep-pile, I found this precious piece of paper.

One that I’m glad I didn’t chuck out. A hand-drawn illustration, documenting my key friendships throughout my life.

From where the timeline ended, I could see it must have been captured 10 years ago. And I suddenly remembered, how I drew it to illustrate to our daughters, how tricky friendships can be, and how some of them only come later in life or only last for a short period of time. How for some, we find back to each other and rekindle. And how some were great, but we somehow moved on.

Sharing how valuable it has been for me throughout my years to have different groups of friends. Like horses for courses: the right horse depends on the course you’re about to ride.

And whether consciously or not – we as well choose our friends for the phase of our life we’re in. Just like we know who to call for which conversations. For which specific reactions. Or who to call for a laugh or to feel better when we have hung up.

Friends for life. Or maybe friends for a fragment. The quality and value of a friendship is not only determined by longevity – over time connection and relevance can change. And then you have those friendships where you may not have spent time together for ages – but the second you’re back in a room together, it’s like a house on fire, like the conversation and laughter never stopped.

You can’t buy friends. And you can’t force friendships.

Our school years often teach us that the painful way. And yet, we end up with friends that suit us. And we make some important decisions along the way, cleaning up in those friendships that don’t serve anyone anymore. Or maybe are just not relevant right now.

When you have your keep-pile: cherish that friendship and reach out in both good and bad times. Connecting to build it, to value it, to give to it, to enjoy it for what it is.

Shower the people you love with love. Clean up your own mess. And remember to give your friends a call.