Never underestimate the value of true friendship

Surely, holding a door open for a member of either sex is just good manners?

LESLEY KEATING: Would you dare hold a door open for a woman?

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We can’t live without them, can we?

Friends, mates, pals, whatever you like to call them, can be a real lifeline.

True friends are there for us at a drop of a hat when we are having a crisis and are always up for a fun night out.

Then there are the pals we have known since nursery.

They have been with us through our childhood and formative years, sharing toys, playing childish pranks and teenage angst as boyfriend/girlfriends came on the scene.

If you’re really fortunate, some friendships can grow and flourish to last an entire lifetime, while others just drift by the wayside.

But how lovely to look back on your life when you’re old with a soul mate.

These are the people who can share all your memories – from drinking that first bottle of milk in the classroom, to having children yourself and then becoming a grandparent.

Personally, since my mum passed away a couple of years ago, I tend to rely on my mates more than I ever did before, especially for advice (although I’m not actually the best person in the world when it comes to taking it).

What I miss the most about my mum is that she always had my best interests at heart.

Your parents are the people who love you unconditionally.

No matter what you do in life – right or wrong – they will stick up for you and fight your corner.

I think fate also plays a certain part when it comes to friends.

Recently, I had a massive surprise when during a show interval at the Kings Theatre, I bumped into a school buddy I hadn’t seen for 30-odd years.

It was lovely to have a catch up and, thanks to the wonders of social networking sites, we can now keep in touch on a regular basis.

That’s the beauty of working in the theatre – it has the element of the unexpected, as you never quite know who is going to walk through those doors.

The best type of friends though are the ones that are there with support and a hug to make us feel we are not alone, no matter what issue you are dealing with.