UNPOPULAR OPINION: "Why my relationship with my oldest friend is so different to the rest."


As my frenemies would agree, I’m very popular. I’ve had lots of female and male friendships in my time.

Relationships with your girlfriends, some of whom you love like a sister, can be complicated, and involve more ups and downs than drinks on Hen’s night.

Some of my female friendships are like that. But there’s one that’s not.

This is a photo of me with my oldest friend, Candice.

A rare photo of us behaving like grown ups. Source: Supplied.

We've been friends for thirty-five years. When you've been friends that long, you're like family. Or, should I say, family you want to be related to.

But we don't call each other a 'sister from another mister', as BFFs do these days. We're brothers from another mother.

We even call each other bro.

I know. It's controversial. But this is why.

No matter how crazy we can drive each other, we can also say it to each other's faces and there are no grudges. We give it to each other straight. There's no false flattery. There's directness, and honesty. It's not over-thought. It's not complicated.

It's the way a lot of the men we know have friendships; they're direct, straightforward, and devoid of politics. So we acknowledge this rare relationship by not calling each other sisters, but brothers - we're the brothers each other never had.

All friendships/relationships will have issues but what makes the survivors is the ones who handle conflicts well.

We disagree. We're sarcastic. One of us (not me, of course) is very annoying and stubborn.

But there's a beautiful simplicity to our interactions. It's our constructive conflict resolution that has seen this friendship keep going no matter what issue needs to be addressed.

Some readers make take offence to this and think I'm making sweeping generalisations. But in my experience of friendships with both genders over my almost 42 years, I think there's truth to the statement that women have more complicated relationships with each other than men have with each other. Candice and me - we've got a good balance of the best of both worlds. Intimacy and support as well as no mind games: ever.


Mia Freedman speaks to author Kayleen Schaefer about why female friendships are so important in society right now. Post continues after,

And I'm lucky enough to be able to say I've got a handful of women with whom I have similar relationships, who are just as meaningful to me - it's just that I haven't had them in my life for 30 years like I have had Candice.

These women are precious because I've learnt many times the hard way that not every friendship is like this. Not every person wants directness and honesty. Not everyone wants to sort things out when they happen. And that's fine; everyone's different. But as I've grown older, I've noticed that those friendships don't work for me. I'm not as relaxed; I can't be myself.

The best compliment I've ever received was from someone who said, "I can never say anything wrong when I'm with you." I felt the same about that person, too.

Isn't that what we all want - to find our tribe we can just be ourselves with and trust that no matter what happens, now matter how much you mess up, they've got your back? It's something I've had to ensure I look for in my closest friendships, now.

And I know it's possible, because I have it with my bro, Candice.