No labels required

Anybody who knows me will gladly confirm I have an obsession with asking questions. I candidly ask anything I want to know, straight up.  I should add the caveat that I always make sure to tell whomever I am speaking to “Feel free not to answer my question.” After all, I may have a right to ask, others also have a right not to answer! 

To my greatest surprise however, I discovered that people like to share.  Share - sometimes because the answer is simple, sometimes because it’s nice to have a listening ear, and also sometimes for a little shock value! Either way, through my many questions, I have learned to genuinely connect with people. 

My husband's first year university  friends quickly became my own. A few ladies later and I am a happy duck! 

My husband's first year university  friends quickly became my own. A few ladies later and I am a happy duck! 

Ariane (left) and Mélanie (middle) started as work colleagues. Now friends, we even survived an office Hippicnic (c'mon guys, a hippie-themed picnic!). 

Ariane (left) and Mélanie (middle) started as work colleagues. Now friends, we even survived an office Hippicnic (c'mon guys, a hippie-themed picnic!). 

I once heard, if you are breathing and the person you are speaking to is also breathing - you have something in common. That’s all you need to create a connection. 

As a consequence, I have never been one to have only one or two close friends, always having a rather large list of people I enjoyed and gladly called my friends. In fact, it didn’t matter to me if we were classmates, colleagues, client / supplier - if I liked the other person and the other person liked me, they were my friend. Simple as that. 

My in-law family is, of course, an intrinsic part of my circle of friends. 

My in-law family is, of course, an intrinsic part of my circle of friends. 

These two friends were among the first I met when I arrived in Ottawa. 

These two friends were among the first I met when I arrived in Ottawa. 

Despite this simple approach to friendship, I still yearned for a deep and intense friendship, the kind portrayed in Sex and the City, Grey’s Anatomy, Friends - the same kind of friendship my sister seemed to have with her best friend since kindergarten.

A few hard and painful friendship breakups later, I discovered that my expectations were not representative of the way real life goes. I had to accept that there are different kinds of friendships at varying levels of intensity and for different periods of time. As the saying goes: People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. 

I have also learned that friendships cannot be forced.  There are things you can do to initiate them. There are things you can do to nurture them. And then, it is sometimes good to let them go... 

I met Julie on my first day at the University of Ottawa. We've been friends ever since! 

I met Julie on my first day at the University of Ottawa. We've been friends ever since! 

In this picture, Phil and Ina had recently started dating. They now have two children and a house...

In this picture, Phil and Ina had recently started dating. They now have two children and a house...

Fortunately, today, I am surrounded by people I love; people who accept my friendship for what it is and who choose to stick by my side —no labels required. It’s all I need and it is all I could have ever hoped for. 

Through this blog, Ariane and I are proposing a simple formula. We will be interviewing friends of all kinds and share the results with you. Through this celebration of friendship, our hope is that we can recognize that friendships come in different expressions and that they are worth it. We want to rejoice with you in  knowing that we are surrounded by people who care; people we share life with. 

Sometimes friendship manifests itself in the form of a human sandwich... here is the most recent example of my friends at work. 

Sometimes friendship manifests itself in the form of a human sandwich... here is the most recent example of my friends at work. 

Twinsies - on the 4th of July. BAHAHAHAHAHA!

Twinsies - on the 4th of July. BAHAHAHAHAHA!

If nothing else, we hope that it brings you to reflect upon the friendships you already have and those that life will bring along the way.