I read the other day that a friend of Prince Charles told the media that he (Prince Charles) had seven eggs cooked for him every morning and then decided on which one he would eat, depending on how cooked or not it was. We are assured that this is a myth and the Prince does no such thing and I can hear a collective sigh of relief all over the egg-eating world at this very important discovery.
It set me thinking, though. Who was this friend who blabbed about something about which he/she obviously knew as much as a reader of a secondhand copy of Hello at the hairdressers? How do you define who a friend is? If you are a celebrity you'll have lots of "friends" spilling your guts to the media any time you have half a personal crisis. "Friends of the couple, who wish to remain anonymous say ...." What kind of a friendship is that?
So what is a friend? For me, a friend is someone who knows when to keep their mouth shut. Someone who doesn't dish the dirt on me or give away my darkest secrets - I haven't got many, in case you're worried. And someone who makes me feel good about myself most of the time while still being able to give me a verbal kick up the derriere if I get out of line. By definition, this is an "intimate" friend - again another invention of the media. I either have friends of the above calibre or I have "acquaintances". I don't expect too much from acquaintances. They can be lots of fun to be with - people I really like - but I'd never tell them anything I'd regret telling to even the cat in the morning. And I might not like it if they criticize me behind my back, but hey, I probably do the same to them.
The most hurtful thing is to consider someone a friend and then discover they've been tearing you to pieces as happily as a terrier with an old slipper. That's happened to me a few times in my life - can't say I've learned from it, either. I have the feeling that it happens to celebrities a lot - otherwise it would mean colossal job-loss on those glossy gossip magazines even with all the eye-boggling "confessions" and interviews with the rich and famous. You have to have a quote from a "friend" of Brangelina or Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson or any other celeb who migh be currently in the spotlight for whatever reason.
In the old days the sentry guarding the gate to the city said something like "who goes there - friend or foe?" It would be good sometimes if we could ask this question of those around us - not that I think anyone would admit to "foe." But perhaps a telling silence might suffice.