Why do we have friendships that last longer than all the others?
Go mbeannaí Dia daoibh and welcome friends, acquaintances and total strangers to the Bluffer’s Guide to Irish.
Well as you know, people,
people who need people, are the luckiest people in the world but don’t worry, the Bluffer isn’t going to go into full Barbara Streisand mode but here is a question you might be asked in the Irish speaking world: Cé hé an cara is fearr atá agat? - who is your best (male) friend? or cé hí an cara is fearr atá agat? - who is your best (female) friend?
You could answer with a name - is é Seán an cara is fearr atá agam - Sean is my best friend or is í Síle an cara is fearr atá agam - Síle is my best friend.
Now you could say is í mo bhean chéile an cara is fearr atá agam? - my wife is my best friend which is an answer
that will certainly earn you brownie points or change it to is é m’fhear céile - it is my husband and he might get around to making the dinner for once.
It’s interesting what makes people long-term friends.
How many of you, my dear middle-aged readers, still have friends you first met at school?
If someone asks you where you first met someone, you could say casadh orm é/í ar an scoil - I first met him/her at school or ag an rang Gaeilge - at the Irish class or ar Tinder - on Tinder.
(Teenagers can explain that one to their parents!)
People become friends – and were not just talking about romantic relationships – for many reasons so think about your friends and ask yourself why you have got on so well for so long.
There are a couple of common reasons why two people bond with each other.
Tá muinín agam ann/inti - I trust him/her is what you will hear a lot of. You know that your bosom buddy will not let you down through the good times and the bad.
When you need a shoulder to cry on, they’ll be there. When you need someone to check if you really have haemorrhoids or not, that’s when you know you have a true friend.
Cuireann sé/sí ag gáire mé - he/she makes me laugh is another great foundation for a long-term friendship.
Laughing is great for the health in general but you have a companion who tickles your funny bone is always good to have.
Having the same sense of humour is a good foundation for a relationship.
Tá suim againn sna rudaí céanna - we are interested in the same things is a good reason behind the longevity of a friendship.
If you like horror movies and they like rom-coms, if you like documentaries and they like soaps, if you are into stamp collecting and they are into extreme sports, you are unlikely to stay friends for too long.
Long-term relationships are built on other things too, from walking into your friend’s house and your wifi connects automatically to swearing to your spouse you were with them all weekend.
Friends also find it easier to ignore our own faults and failings and are willing to listen to our rants.
As Otto von Bismark once said: “Love is blind; friendship tries not to notice.”
Another of my favourite quotes on friendship comes from the title of a Country and Western song. It goes: My wife ran off with my best friend, and I sure do miss him.
Cé hé an cara is fearr atá agat? (cay hay un cara is far ataa ugut) - who is your best (male) friend?
cé hí an cara is fearr atá agat? (cay hee un cara etc) - who is your best (female) friend?
is é Seán an cara is fearr atá agam (ish ay shaan un cara etc) - Sean is my best friend
is í Síle an cara is fearr atá agam (ish she sheela un cara etc) - Síle is my best friend
is í mo bhean chéile an cara is fearr atá agam? (ish shee maw van cayla an cara etc) - my wife
is é m’fhear céile é (ish ay mar cayla ay) - it is my husband
casadh orm é/í ar scoil (casoo orm ay/ee er skull) - I first met him/her at school
ag an rang Gaeilge (ag un raang gaylicka) - at the Irish class
ar Tinder (er tinder) - on Tinder
Tá muinín agam ann/inti (ta mwinyeen ugum un/intchee) - I trust him/her
Cuireann sé/sí ag gáire mé (keran shay/she eg gyra may) - he/she makes me laugh
Tá suim againn sna rudaí céanna (taa sim ageen sna rudee keerna) - we are interested in the same things