If you had told me 20 years ago that today, one of my best friends would be a tall, skinny, gay Afrikaans guy, I would never have believed you. You see, I grew up in a fairly conservative household. With a charismatic upbringing and a tight bunch of school friends, I never questioned anyone else’s views and was rarely exposed to people “different” than myself.
Until I met Conrad …
Just writing about him makes me smile at all the many times he has made me laugh. He has an incredible sense of dry humour and will often say the funniest things out of the blue that have me in stitches for hours.
I trust Conrad. He is one of the very few people I trust and believe me, there aren’t many. He is someone who I can tell absolutely anything to without being judged and he will give me advice based on what is best for me, not what he thinks I want to hear. Too often, I’ve been in a crisis situation and called on his help and he’s been there.
I can also be completely open and honest with him. Such as the time KK and I went to see the acclaimed production of Cats, and we just didn’t “get it”. I bumped into Conrad during the interval and as he looked at me, he knew. He just smiled and said, “Well at least you aren’t faking it like most people here.”
Conrad ‘hears’ me. There aren’t that many people who can listen to your conversation and actually pick out exactly what it is that’s really bugging you. He’s good at this.
He makes me think about the difficult questions and forces me to at least take a stand with issues.
Perhaps one of the biggest lessons he’s taught me is this:
Just because people are not the same as you, or think the same as you, or look and act or dress the same as you, does not mean that they are wrong and that you are right.
In fact, by being friends with someone so different to yourself can actually open your eyes to views about life that you would never have thought about or have had a chance to think about.
And since meeting him, I’ve had the opportunity to do this often which has helped me grow as a person.
I am lucky to have a friend like him in my life.