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When I said I'd write at the weekend? I was lying. And I'd do it again. I'd do it all again in an instant, I tell you! Ahahaha!

Since my last update the wheels of bureaucracy have finally creaked into motion, and the state have issued me a personal adviser to help me back into employment. I was initially optimistic about this, looking forward to a chance to finally explain my problems to a human being and unload some of my frustration. Sadly, this well-meaning woman – let's call her R. – is harried, overworked and perhaps slightly senile.

I suspect this because R. asks me the same questions every week and doesn't seem to retain any information about me between visits. Not that I blame her, really – she's a pen-pusher, not a psychiatrist. I think I had unrealistic expectations of the whole thing. The same principle applies in wider life. The only time I heard of two people attempting to share the entire contents of their minds was in a Beat novel.

As adults I think we have to accept that we may never find someone to share everything with. Sometimes we just have to work things out by ourselves. As AS Wyatt said in one favourite passage of mine;

One of life's most difficult attainments is the establishment of satisfactory relationships with others. Even the closest friendships, while bringing great happiness, fall short of the perfection we crave. It is not possible to be close enough for long enough; to understand completely, or to be completely unselfish.

I hear you, AS.

This might all strike you as being rather pessimistic, but it's a prozac daydream compared to the attitude of one acquaintance of mine, who over the last few months has given up on friends. Not just her particular friends, you understand, but the whole concept of friends. Apparently they're unreliable and never there when you need them, and generally not a patch on family/significant others.

What do you think? Are 'friends' overrated? How much should we expect of them?

On a closing note of slight panic, I still haven't bought any Christmas presents. They call me Mr. Organisation. When I say 'they', I refer of course to lunatics. 

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