"Friendship comprises bonds of affection underpinned by a kind of unconscious barter for intangibles - you look after or amuse me now and you can trade in the goodwill for help or succour when you need it later. It's a system that recognises the impossibility of putting a precise value on anything interpersonal and allows for the flexibility and effeciency that human relations require." Lucy Mangan in Wednesday's G2
Its the give and take of friendships that keeps them going. We've all had those friends who always hang back at the bar, never buy a drink first, always split the bill equally (even when they drank the majority of the bottle of wine), who bring their boyfriend and treat the pair of them as one sharing the rounds between their one (two drinks) and you. Loss of balance makes these types of friendships tilt the balance to the point that they teeter on the edge of toppling off. I had a good friend once who treated me more like their parent which made me feel both old and overly responsible in an emotional crutch sort of way. IT couldn't be sustained.
With a good friend you know that when you buy them a coffee this week you'll get something back another time, even if that is just the pleasure of their company.