I’ve become pickier about what I want in a friend

Cheryl was lucky enough to sit next to 1980s pop star Sinitta, pictured here at a previous event   Picture: PA

CHERYL GIBBS: An embarrassing moment at a celebrity shindig with Sinitta

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Whatever has happened in my life, the one thing that has sustained me is friendship.

I need my pals as much as I hope they need me, especially the ones that I’ve kept since my childhood and I hold dear.

Aristotle was once quoted as saying ‘without friends, no-one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.’

That kind of sums it up for me too.When you’re young, friendships are easy and bountiful. There’s always someone to hang out with in the school playground, at endless parties and after-school events.

You’re likely to have at least one special person that sees you through that tender first stage of life.

If you’re really, really fortunate, that person will be with you for all the other life stages too, celebrating the good times and providing a shoulder to cry on in the bad, plus giving a reassuring hug and mopping up the tears.

By the time you reach 30, it seems there are a plethora of new folk who wander into your life through work, children’s school and activities and, of course, the Facebook friends.

But they’re not close friends. They’re not the ones you met in kindergarten or saw you through college.

They’re the ones you could call in a crisis, or when you’re feeling lonely.

They’re also in shorter supply.

As I’ve got older I’ve become much pickier about what exactly I want in a friend.

I realised quite recently that I have neglected to restock my pool of mates.

Big life events like turning 40 have been a reminder that time horizons are depleting and you should concentrate on the here and now.

I want authentic friendships with like-minded souls that are filled with specific needs,

It’s hard to form a meaningful friendship in the workplace.

I find friendships there are quite fickle and competitive – you can be flavour of the month one minute and dropped the next, and for no apparent reason,

People also leave and move on.

So to my friends, especially those childhood pals, I would like to say that I value each and every last one of you. You’re all brill!