Do you have someone you can share secrets and discuss important matters with? I'm onto June in Gretchen's happiness project (see my earlier post), and apparently if you have five or more friends with whom you can discuss an important matter, then you are more likely to describe yourself as being very happy.
Now the friendship section is of great interest to me, because since I uprooted from my homeland to England, the aforementioned 70 hour working weeks have made it difficult to make true true friends. Don't get me wrong I have them, but they are mostly back home and work commitments make visits tricky to schedule. I've made friends here, but they tend to be through work and there's always a point where you'll worry about being perceived as unprofessional if you allow yourself to "speak plain".
I am friends with my boyfriend, but expecting too much emotional support from one relationship can put a drain on it. I'm friends with his friends, but apparently, contact with women is more effective than contact with men for abating feelings of loneliness for either gender.
So, who do I turn to when I need someone to talk to?
First and foremost has to be family. I'm counting my boyfriend here, even though we're not married. I'm really close to my father and grandmother, I call one of them every day just to chat. If I've ever got something that's annoying me I will turn to my Dad first of all. I'm also one of four children, so there's usually a sibling to turn to when I need a chat.
Next, I'd probably turn to my two best girlfriends from university. We lived together for two years until the housing dept made a mess up in our third year, but I've known them for six years come September and they usually have good advice. These are the classic example of friends in the homeland. We've all moved from our uni town, but they live in the same city as one another, and I'm a three hour train ride away.
At work I've got a good female friend in a different department. We started at the same time and do things outside of work together. She's the one person I can really trust not to make professional judgements about me if we're just chilling out. I guess there could be others but I'm a little paranoid. People in my department are nice, but I sometimes worry that they have their own agenda.
I have a really good guy friend, part Austin Powers, part Oscar Wilde, who is like another brother to me. We've been friends for about eleven years now, but I think that we might be growing apart. He's busy taking over the world in his sector and has a new girlfriend. I'm not so great at keeping in touch. He's moved nearer to me now though, so maybe I will see more of him soon.
There are more than these. But those are the ones who I would instantly trust who spring to mind. The family unit is a fairly solid base, but I guess the other relationships are suffering a bit of rust which will have to be put right. The book is good in that respect, it's got me thinking more about these things than I otherwise would.