You’ve been there for each other through thick and thin. Probably since you were at school.
There isn’t much you wouldn’t you do for your best friend.
Me and mine, the tales of devotion we could tell. We’ve been everything from secret-keepers and esteem-boosters to comfort blankets and metaphorical punchbags... Whatever was needed at the time, we willingly became it and got her through, just as we knew she would do when the tables inevitably turned.
We have sobbed on each other’s shoulders, given their rubbish boyfriends pieces of our minds, held hands at hospital appointments we’d rather not have and given her alibis even when what she was doing was something we disapproved of.
We’ve lent each other clothes and money - and even a man, once, just to make one of those rubbish boyfriends jealous. Which worked, incidentally.
And in more recent years, we’ve helped each other out with the kids. Not only having them overnight or after school, either; several of us found ourselves becoming the middle-mummy with each other’s teenagers going through that “God I SO HATE her” stage.
Indeed, over the years, there is very little that one BF will not do for another. I know one, a midwife, who flew all the way to Australia to deliver her best friend’s baby. I know another who threw caution and her clothes to the winds when her BF asked her to go on holiday with her. To a nudist camp. (Thank you, Anj. And I must add it was all in the name of journalism).
One friend, who must remain nameless for obvious reasons, turned private eye and actually committed a criminal offence twice over for a distraught BF convinced her husband was having an affair.
Said friend, probably clad in her best mac, collar up, sneaked into the suspect husband’s office when the cleaners were in early-doors and, as per instructions, raided his desk for proof. She found it, too; bikini pictures of the woman who was surely his bit on the side.
As this was in the days before mobile phones, she used his landline to ring his wife, her friend, for further instructions. “Swipe the pics,” she was told. So she did.
She delivered them to her BF, they both decided bikini girl looked a right slapper and then the wronged wife got cold feet about confronting him. Well, how on earth would she explain how she’d got hold of the pictures?
There was only one thing for it; the BF had to get her mac back on and sneak the photos back the very next morning.
Oh, how those women laugh about it now. And wonder who on earth the cleaners thought she was.
The reason I am recalling all of this is that yesterday, I read a story about an act of selfless, devoted female friendship that fair took my breath away.
When her best friend Caroline died of cancer just a year after the death of her husband, Julie in Cambridgeshire didn’t think twice - about adopting her five orphaned children.
She was a single mum of three working full-time, which must have been hard enough; now she’s got eight children, whose ages span 20 to 6, to care for.
And she insists: ‘What I am doing is something very natural and ordinary. I love the children like they were my own and would never have seen them end up in care.
“I know it’s exactly what Caroline would have done for me.”
The home of this friend to end all friends is now bursting at the seams, but not to worry; her sons, who obviously take after her, have given up their bedrooms and moved into the dining room. Bless.
Do you know what I wish for this wonderful woman? Not a benefactor or a bigger home, but another best friend.
With one of those by your side, a girl can get through anything.