Over the weekend I had a few interesting conversations with my mum and my sister. Usually we are just a bit silly when we get together, and there was still dancing in the kitchen, but also quite a lot of just sitting and having long discussions about friendships, work and life in general, which was rather lovely.
I have no idea how we got on the topic but there was someone they knew who apparently still speaks to their childhood imaginary friend in their late 20s. We all agreed (and I was privately very relieved about this) that having conversations to yourself is quite normal, in the same way that lots of people come up with better responses to arguments that happened weeks ago when they are in the shower. But, maybe having conversations with the same imaginary friend is a little weird?
Personally, I sometimes chat to the cats, or imagine that someone from a film I’ve watched recently is there and we just have a conversation, or perhaps I’m a famous singer and I’m being interviewed on Graham Norton… This is where the internet starts psychoanalysing me… I guess it’s just a way of externalising an internal debate sometimes to make sense of it, or a creative outlet for an imagination that used to be extremely active as a child. If my life sometimes feels a little dull I can spend a few minutes imagining that I’m an extremely interesting person and it makes me feel a little better.
My sister agreed that she did the same, and I’m not surprised because when we were little our games were mainly focused around role play that we were orphans living on the rooftops of London (the sofas) or lions and tigers patrolling our territory (the lounge). She even reminded my mum that when she was very young she tried to make up an imaginary friend, because she liked the idea of having one, but found it too hard to maintain. I had no idea about this but my mum could remember the ‘friend’s’ name and everything. (It’s way too awkward to contemplate how many embarrassing things your parents know about you.)
However, we all agreed between us that having discussions with the same imaginary friend for several decades implies a certain level of crazy, or at least an imagination with a strong sense of determination for continuity because that must be quite draining to develop two personalities at once as you age.
I wonder if they ever get frustrated that no one else gets to meet their ‘friend’?