A group of four young people playing cards in the winter sunshine in Lisbon

I’ve been thinking recently of the old reason/season/lifetime adage in regard to relationships, or friendships in particular. Our life of many moves has seen each of us build many new relationships, making new friends and accumulating acquaintances as we go. There have been many false starts and much floundering on my part as I tried to surround myself with people who helped me feel secure and part of something more than just my immediate family, those whom I could relate to and who shared similar values. There have been many goodbyes, tearful airport farewells and promises to keep in touch as well as many unsaid farewells – those relationships that never quite flourished as they might have and those whose seeds were simply not planted in the right soil and never even germinated.

Coming across the idea that relationships, or people, come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime has been a comfort. A reassurance that striving to nurture every friendship beyond its natural life is not necessary or even beneficial. It is not that I don’t feel a fondness or joy when recollecting those I’m no longer in regular communication with, simply that the pleasure is enhanced by a lack of feeling guilt that I ‘should’ get in touch. These ‘seasonal’ friends are just that aren’t they? The culinary equivalent of fresh herbs, adding pleasure and enhancing the experience but lacking the longevity that the main ingredient’s memory might enjoy.

There are certain people though whom I can identify as having come into my life for a reason, those who have supported or influenced me in ways I might never have anticipated. There have been a few over the years whose impact on my life may never be known to them, but who have shaped the woman I am becoming (for we are forever a work in progress aren’t we?). There is one such person in my life right now, whose generous support and willingness to share her knowledge has enabled me to really begin to understand myself more thoroughly – what feels important and what motivates me. It’s fascinating to delve a little deeper and while I suspect to many it is screamingly obvious that knowing oneself is the foundation upon which a fulfilling life is built it seems to have come to my consciousness a little later in life!

I am also lucky enough to have just a few friends who are most definitely in it for the long term, some whom I’ve known since my twenties or before. I don’t get to see them all regularly and don’t even live in the same country as some, but the comforting knowledge that picking up the threads of our friendship is uncomplicated and rewarding is akin to a security blanket for which I am ever grateful.

It is four years now since we returned to the UK and three since I leapt into the world of social media, firstly via a Digital Mums social media management course and then by running The Simpson Sisters. Instagram for me has in part been a kind of friendship ‘Tinder’ (although I’ve never actually used Tinder so could be wildly off course here!); it has given me the opportunity to make connections with people who share my interests and my values and offered me a sneak peek into their lives before contemplating a meet up. I haven’t yet been disappointed and have met some wonderful people whom I would never have bumped into in the course of my day to day life.

Whether these friendships borne out of Instagram are those of reason, season or lifetime is yet to be established but I welcome them all regardless and thank my lucky stars that I am living in an age which allows us to meet this way.

What about you? Do you have wonderful stories of friendships made online, or does the thought of meeting someone you’ve only known digitally fill you with horror?!