I have met thousands of lovely people in my time. Some of them I am happy to say that I can call friends. It was William Butler Yeats who said: “There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t met yet.” Is it as simple as that?

I tend to get on with most people. I know that you should always see the good in anyone but in the course of time, you get to know someone you find out what they are really like. I spoke to someone I didn’t know yesterday and in the course of our conversation he had used some pretty racist language and made assumptions about a certain group of people.

I have my bad habits. I am grumpy, messy, over-weight and mostly lachrymose and miserable. I know at times I can be rude and make off the cuff remarks which some see as being hurtful. I was told that when a colleague first met me in a classroom at school that I seemed rather a miserable and rude old sod. Nothing like I was when they actually got to know me. I explained that times I am not all happiness and laughter.

I think about the people who I have met over the years and who have remained my friends. Those people who have stuck by me through the good and the crappy times. That’s the point of being a true friend. When the shit does hit the fan and by this, I don’t mean you have been unable to choose the right shoes for a night out but when life does get truly bad will they stick by you?

I have friends who I have known for decades. These people who stayed with me. I have stayed with them. It’s not all fun and laughter but 90% of the time it is. You provide support for when they are going through a rough time. They do the same when it happens to you. After a while, you build a bond that is truly strong. Sometimes you mess up you work things through and you move on.

Too many fair-weather friends have come and gone. Others have decided to leave of their own volition and others have been pushed as they weren’t bothered about you right from the beginning.

One thing I some people have learned from the terrible tragedies in West Yorkshire and Orlando is that friendship and love will always win. I don’t want to know people who aren’t welcoming to all. It doesn’t mean that you cannot be sensible about these things but if you lack compassion for those who are less fortunate than yourself then what sort of person does that make you?

One friend, I used to know told me that his parents had taught him to look out only for himself and that’s it. The self is the number one person. What a selfish uncaring attitude that is. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t revolve around one person. A materialistic selfish attitude is dreadful. After all when you have lost all of those things what do you have left? Any house or car can be gone in an instant.


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the barefoot tree

Still grumpy

Gari Wellingham

UK-based musical theatre geek previously living with a brain tumour!

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