I do not know what I am doing right to have kept such good friends for so long, but it is certainly worth pointing out that none of them have got to the present point without negotiating moments of crisis. In each of my closest friends there have been moments when the friendship has nearly foundered – but we somehow came through them to a relationship that was stronger than it was before the crisis.
The nature of friendship changes, and you have to change with it. Once, hopefully, I fascinated my friends and charmed them. After 40 years, I am sure I often bore them – and that is inevitable. A good friendship, like a good marriage, ceases after a while to be a mutual entertainment society and becomes instead a sorority or fraternity of battle-scarred veterans. We are still here, we still enjoy being around each other, and we treasure our shared histories. This is something precious, even if it isn’t always a laugh riot.
Is there a secret to long friendships? Simply this – an absence of pride. Too many falter on stubbornness or the determination to hold on to offence. Successful ones rely on humility and the recognition of human fallibility. These are not merely useful attributes. They are the heart and soul of friendship.