The Day in the life of Tony Cliffe

The blog that's full of discussion, advice, travel and ramblings!

Tag: best friends

My dedication to the inner circle!

I wrote a blog many years ago, which just happened to be one of my all-time favourite pieces I’ve ever written. It was an in-depth look into how females and particularly female best friends have had such a profound impact on my life and the person I am today. It was at the time one of my most-read posts, and it’s those kinds of dedication blogs that I rarely write, but when I do, I absolutely love it. I’m pretty terrible at telling someone how I feel in person, but I can express it and immortalise my respect, gratitude and love to them through the written word.

Unfortunately, I no longer have a copy of that blog. That old blog site was closed down without warning years ago (thankfully paying for this blog I have the peace of mind that these blogs will stay!) and I’ve long since got rid of that PC. I contemplated rewriting that for this post but take note Disney, that a well-received classic should never be remade, ever! No matter how hard you try, it will never compare to the standard or the heart of the original.

I think I signed off one of my recent blogs talking about how I am a wealthy individual, not in terms of monetary value but in terms of the company that I keep. I’m big enough, ugly enough, and wise enough to know that I’m not the easiest person to have as a friend. I’m always on the go, I demand the best from myself every day, and therefore I’m pushy and demanding of you to be the best that you can be. I can be direct and brutally honest at times…okay, all of the time. Where friends often use little white lies or disguise their disagreement with their friend’s actions to make their friend happy, that doesn’t happen with me. If you ask me my opinion on something, I’ll tell you even if you don’t like my answer. I can be incredibly stubborn at times and set in my ways. What you see with me is what you get, that honesty and black and white stance on things some people can’t handle. They prefer to be pampered or only have their own thoughts validated. So those who have stuck around first and foremost, thank you! I probably come across as a right twat don’t I? But despite those flaws, I do like to think that I am one of the most loyal, dedicated, protective and loving person to those few who I do let in.

I have many good friends, I have close friends, and I have a group of friends who sit in the inner circle. Those who over time their friendship has never faulted or waivered. These beautiful individuals all enhance my life greatly in a variety of ways, each one of them incredibly unique, each one my life would be decidedly empty and less fulfilling if they were not in it. There are many people close to me that I could and should thank (so please don’t be offended if you’re not in this blog! You don’t mean any less to me than these people!!) but I thought it would be nice to give my gratitude and thanks to those who’ve been through it all. They say that those who have been friends for between 7 and 9 years become friends for life. Thus, I think that’s a good cut off point for this blog because it just so happens that those who I’ve been friends with the longest just so happen to be those inner circle of people.

When I say inner circle it does sound a bit cultish or an elitist club, right? But that’s not really what I mean, the inner circle is simply a designator for those who I have no walls up for, for who know my many flaws and accept them, who know my hopes, dreams and desires and who knows my darkest secrets. I trust these individuals with my life, they have shown complete loyalty and dedication through the good times, but more importantly throughout the years and the hard times, they’ve never shone away from standing by me, either picking up a sword to fight alongside me or holding an umbrella up while I weather a raging storm. Some people rely upon and put all of their eggs into only one person, usually a boyfriend or girlfriend, at the expense of their friends. Me, well I much prefer diversity and a well-oiled machine around me, a team. Each one of these people is vastly different and all the better for it. So, without further exposition, let’s get into it!



My bro!

Holds the honour as one of the only males to make it into the inner circle! Luke isn’t a friend but is instead, an adopted big brother that I never had. We’re not friends, we’re Bros! My parents simply refer to him as “second son”. I’ve known Luke for what feels like a lifetime, we’ve practically grown up together. For context, Luke is a couple of years older than me and was my sister’s friend in high school. He popped round for tea one day and we got on really well, except our first conversation was an argument! An argument about the position of the vertical stabiliser on an F-18 vs an F-15. Nerdy or what but as a fellow avgeek we knew we’d be friends! From then practically every day during the summer holidays and weekends we’d spend together, climbing trees, buildings go-karts, fighting side by side in the infamous Hunt Road waterfight wars and generally just being lads!

As we got older, Luke was always the big brother I never had. Always there for me, protecting me, looking out for me, guiding me, and always on point with his advice. On paper, we’re vastly different people. Luke is athletic, outgoing, loud, a doer, incredibly funny and someone more of a risk-taker. Me I’m not athletic, not that adventurous, I’m more of a person to write the manual than actually to do it, and I’m risk-averse. Yet, it works! One thing i’ve learnt is to never play sports with Luke, he has an uncanny knack of using whatever sporting instrument be that a cricket ball or an air hockey puck, and getting a direct ‘accidental’ hit in my nuts. Bastard! We get on so well together, and my life would be completely different if I didn’t have my Bro in my life. Kudos to Amy, his beautiful wife, who still allows him to disappear every other Saturday so we can still hang out for a few hours!

Luke forces me to go out of my comfort zone, to be more adventurous and more outgoing. I can’t thank him enough for all of the times he’s been there for me through the good times but especially the dedication and encouragement through the bad times. Just an example of the kinda standup bloke he is, when I did go through that awful breakup, he left work early that day to hang out and take my mind off it and kept coming up with random things to do on weekends to keep me occupied until I was back on my feet. A true genuine legend. A true brother. I love you, Bro! Every guy needs a true bro, and I’m so very thankful that it’s you!



My fav spud

Chloe or more accurately Spudette (I’m referred to as Spud!) has been one of my rocks and a pillar in my life. I met Chloe properly during our first year residential trip to Slapton and boy am I glad we did! From the early days of ripping each other for our accents, in scouse i say graph like it ends in a F whereas Chloe would say it as if it had too many A’s! Teaching her to say purple in scouse is still one of my personal highlights! Common vs Posh English! For eight years, I don’t think we’ve ever stopped laughing since! Chloe is one of the most beautiful people I know, not just in terms of looks (like all my female friends, they’re absolute babes!) but in terms of personality. I’ve never met someone who is as dedicated, loyal, caring and kind-hearted as Chloe. Not just towards me but everyone in her life, we all need a person like Chloe in our lives! From day one, we struck up a fantastic rapport, and from day one, I’ve always felt that no matter what, Chloe has my back. Chloe is the first person I turn to in a crisis or when a significant decision needs to be made. I often rarely ask for advice or seek council because I think I can do everything myself ( I can be pigheaded that way!), but any big decision gets run past her because she has such clarity and my best interests at heart that I value her advice and opinion so highly.

I recall spending hours at the river in Chester us both discussing what I should do, take the job in Nottingham, a £27,000 three year contract job or to stay in Chester and become a research assistant for £16,000 on a temporary year contract. I had conflicting thoughts, the logical rational me was a no doubt to take the Nottingham consultancy job. Yet the emotional me knew my heart was in research, so I wanted the Chester one, but that was an irrational and illogical choice. My Dad was pushing for me to take the Nottingham job, my Mum was pushing for the Chester one. Confusion and confliction everywhere. Everywhere until Chloe and I met up, finally, clarity. The weird thing about Chloe is there is a calmness that I don’t get with anyone else, she just gets it! At the end of the day, I took the illogical and irrational decision to take the Chester job. A decision I have never regretted! Thank you, Chloe!


I’m not a religious person or that spiritual, but I do believe in the Universe, and it’s little nuances. I read many years ago about each of us have three assigned people, a soul mate (in the romantic sense), a soul mate (in terms of platonic love) and a Guardian/Protector. They can be one individual who is all three, or they could be three separate people. I’ve always thought since the day I met Chloe that she is the platonic soul mate and quite possibly the protector. There has always been an energy that we were meant to be best friends, from day one, it’s always been easy! I adore being in her company, and even though she now lives on the other side of the planet, our friendship is as strong as ever. I wrote a fun blog years ago about what the perfect woman would be like, Chloe’s personality formed a basis for comparison in terms of traits. An incredibly loyal, smart, dedicated, caring and super-intelligent woman! I love you Spudette, thanks for always saying the right things and always without hesitation, having my back. I so appreciate that, and I’m thankful that you’re apart of my life!

20190808_221142 (1)



My sister from another Mr!

If Luke is my Bro, then Emma is my sister from another Mr While I have a wonderful if not infuriating at times actual blood related older Sister, I’ve always seen Emma as a sister of my own age. A sister that I can talk to about everything, you know the things that you’d never really want to discuss with your family haha! When friends progress past friendship and enter the family tier, you know you have a friend for life. I’ve known Emma since year 9, so we’re looking at around 13 years! I think its testament to our friendship that in those many years, we’ve changed so much as individuals, we’ve both gone through so much and yet the bond between us has never faulted or waivered. Emma really is a friend for life. If you had to define what a true friend looked and acted like, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better example than Em!

You might be starting to notice a pattern here, that each one of these people is incredibly trustworthy and loyal. Em has stood by my side throughout everything, even at times in school, she rose above the mediocracy and idle gossip of others to stand at my side. She has a fantastic accurate moral compass. Em is always one of the first to message with congratulations when things are going well and consistently one of the first to offer assistance when it’s not going so well.


Putting up with my shit since 2006!

That’s the thing I love about Em so much is that dedication and well maybe our unique sense of humour! Em is one of those people who doesn’t ever see how awesome she is, always playing herself down. Em is one of the best people that I know, and I couldn’t think of a life without her. Who would I message every day? Who could I moan to about stuff without judgement? Who would I share my love of Wagamama trips with!?


I’ve enjoyed travelling to European destinations with Em, I’ve enjoyed our weekends away to the Lakes climbing mountains and our trips to London, above all else, I just really enjoy her company. In all the time I’ve known her, we’ve never fallen out. Sure at times, I’ve wanted to kill her, case in point trying to find platform nine and fucking three quarters in Kings Cross in 30c heat in London. Or when that bitch 😉 beat me in crazy golf to win the window seat on the plane to Amsterdam (grrrr. Still bitter! One point!). Emma is a stalwart of my friendship group, another one of those people who have just become such an immense pillar in my life. Her friendship means everything, I’m forever grateful for you and everything you stand for. I look forward to our monthly catch ups when we’re in our 90’s and laughing so much our teeth fall out!!




My fav midlander!

Back to undergrad friends now and like Chloe, Han has been a constant in my life since the first year of Uni. Han is one of the funniest people I know, whether she realises her humour or not, I do not know, but I find her hilarious! I get on so well with Han that every day we spent together was an absolute laugh, and even now we message each other every day without fail, and there is always a laugh to be had! Han is one of the most loyal and level headed people that I know. When her best friend and I broke up in Uni, it could have been very easy for her to pick a-side post break up but credit to Han, she never did. She had time for us both and never made anything awkward! As we’ve got older, I enjoy that Han is the one I have a daily moan to. Usually about the general public being idiots or football-related chats! Plus she’s the legend who loans me her BT account, so I can watch the football! What an epic person she is!

I’ve had so many fun times with Han, she introduced me to B movies, particularly any B movie titles with superlatives before sharks in it (Mega shark vs giant octopus was the first one she made me watch and oh boy is that still the best B Movie ever!). It’s also thanks to her that I’ve witnessed someone do the seemingly impossible and burn carrots! I can still taste that smell, haha! I love that we get to catch up every year and I’m proud of where you are in life right now, married to the awesome Dan and a little one on the way. You two are absolutely going to smash parenthood! That kid (baby Divok, you have to call it that!) is going to grow up with the two most loving, loyal, devoted, family-oriented parents. Han, you are beyond excellent, thank you for always being there!




My fav ginge

Rochene, Ro, my fave ginger, whatever I call her, I love her. Unlike the others in this list who I’ve interacted with in-person from day one. Our friendship was for the first few years entirely based via Twitter! It was not until I offered to help her with some SPSS that we met up in Costa did we actually talk face to face! Ever since then, Ro has been one of my closest friends, and despite my love-hate relationship with SPSS, I thank it for the relationship we have now! Ro probably takes the title of being the most strong-willed and minded person I know. I thought I was strong-minded and stubborn, but boy does she give me a run for my money! Plus she’s probably the only person who truly competes with me on a sarcasm level. So. Much. Sass. She’s always very keen on keeping me grounded and putting me in my place!

Ro is definitely one of those people who sees the big gooey soft marshmallow side of me, and she puts up with all of my weirdness! Like all the others, loyalty in spades and is someone who has become another constant fixture and a pillar in my life. She is someone I will forever stand beside and back, regardless of the situation. She is by far the most complex person I know (in a good way), she’s a warrior, she’s brave, she’s independent, she’s incredibly funny, and she’s incredible! Weekends wouldn’t be the same without our coffee catch-ups, trips out walking to various places or just the simple task of running errands. Life would be pretty dull without you around! I cannot express how proud I am of you, for what you’ve achieved, what you’re doing, and what you stand for. You’ve taught me so many things that I don’t know where to begin. Thank you for always being around and putting up with me! For someone who is so small in stature, you’re an absolute giant to me!


Final words:

There are so many people I could carry on about here, from old school pals like Shaun my cycling buddy, old uni friends like Mary and Sophie, to new ones from the PhD such as those from H105. They too are all incredibly special and are huge influences in my life, but oddly enough I probably tell them that more than I do the four above. I think I take them for granted at times, and that is why I’ve written this blog, to express my deepest love and thanks to four pillars of my life. I cannot imagine a life without you guys in it. A group of individuals who guide me, keep me grounded, help me achieve success, pull me out of the crap and above all else, a group of individuals that I am so unbelievably proud to say I know and that I am friends with.

Thank you!

This isn’t going to be my only dedication style blogs this year. Those others i mentioned there, don’t worry you’re getting your own blog post! I’m also going to be doing one about mentors and those who’ve influenced me to date. Keep an eye out for them! Above all, tell the people who you love that you appreciate, love and are thankful that they’re in your life. Share the love today!

Mistakes, Lessons learned and a new blog!

Well it’s been a while since I’ve wrote this kind of blog, probably back to my “Don’t be the ship heading for the rocks” one years ago. However while it’s fresh in my mind I thought I better write it. But before I go any further, I want to welcome you to my new blog site! It seems my old host has been having a lot of trouble lately and has been down for over a week, I suspect its game over for them sadly! So bare with me until I get my head around this new site!

This week has been interesting to say the least and from it there have been a lot of things that have got me thinking. I’m always one that seeks out constant improvement in everything I do and after realising some of my own mistakes and watching a fair few being made by others this week, I think it’s only right that I discuss them in the hope that you may avoid them in the future!

So this week, I facilitated an argument between two best friends and a friend that lasted pretty much for about 7 hours. To say I felt like the UN Security Council is an understatement and I certainly wasn’t over the Bam Ki-Moon until it was sorted. Turns out everyone in that argument, including me, made some mistakes and personally I realised a mistake on my part for a tiff between me and my wife.

Now everyone makes mistakes and it’s impossible to make them all yourself, so it’s always good to learn from others.
1. Communication

So I thought I’d start with the first one and one that I harp on about all the time when people come to me for relationship advice or friendship advice. I always say communication is the key because it is.

If I had a pound for every time someone argued because they got the wrong end of the stick of something, jumped to conclusions in a heartbeat and got angry at someone because they didn’t know the full facts… well I’d be rich…but then I’m also guilty of that myself so I’d probably have to give it all back.

So all the arguments or tiffs this week could have been dampened in the first place, if everyone communicated. Case in point, this week’s trio argument. People jumping to conclusions to quickly and then failing to talk to said person about it. Instead they discuss it with their friends  without bothering to talk to the person(s) to get to the bottom of it (again I have been guilty of that in the past too and was guilty of the conclusion thing this week).  If everyone from the start was open and communicated about their feelings, their problems ,then the whole 7 hour argument would have just been a minor heated discussion. When everyone realised they all had the wrong end of a horribly timed coincidence, I’m pretty sure everyone felt a bit foolish of how it was all dealt with. However if we all communicated at the start then we wouldn’t have let it get so big!

Communication is also massive in relationships, both in love and in friendships. I like to think I’m close to 98% open at all times to all my close friends and when I have a girlfriend I like to think I’m usually up to that standard with them to. I’m sure you’ve guessed from my blogs I am a kind of heart on the sleeve guy and I usually put everything out there, until exceptions which I shall come onto.

However what I’m trying to say is, I think a few more people should be like me and be open, especially if you’re in a relationship or in a close friendship. If you’re in a relationship or have a tiff currently with a best friend, I guarantee you’ve ranted and expressed all your feelings to another person but haven’t confronted the actual person over it? Many hours I’ve sat on a phone or at a computer screen listening to friends go on about their boyfriend/girlfriend not doing this or doing something that makes them angry, but they never say to that person what it is. How do you expect to solve an issue if all parties don’t know what is wrong? Plus when everyone talks things through, it will make your relationship stronger because you can both work on your flaws.

Now I know, personalities and personal circumstances play a big part in this and I understand it’s not always black and white. Although I wear my heart on my sleeve most of the time, I hold an incredible amount of information back to myself. I help countless people and offer advice but I rarely seek it. I only open up if I really can’t deal with things on my own and that’s only when something truly bad has happened, usually I deal with everything else on my own. It’s not that I don’t value people’s advice or a lack of trust because it isn’t. The ‘bubble’ of close people around me I trust 100% and value their advice a lot to but, I know what people can handle and what they can’t. I have broad shoulders; I carry around a lot of my own baggage and a hell of a lot of other peoples because I can. I have the mental capacity and the personality that accommodates it. For others you’d probably find it difficult to deal with everyone else’s problems while dealing with your own, but I’m used to it over the years :P. Plus I feel guilty if I off load on someone who is dealing with their own problems (but like I said don’t hesitate to keep coming for advice, I do offer it free of charge… well maybe a coffee 😉 ).

So bringing this back to this week, my beautiful wife lately has been going through a hell of a lot of crap from life. Once again I am in complete awe at how she keeps it all together, even if the seams are held together with selotape. You’re one brave girl ace moose! However, this lack of communication and well my personality trait caused a small tiff a few weeks ago which was only resolved the other day. I love helping people, more than ever when it comes to the people I love. I cannot bare to see the ones I care about upset, so I’ll try my best to help anyway I can and maybe it’s an ego thing, every guy wants to be the noble knight in shining armour. I see problems through to the end so I will keep going at it until that person is happy again. However, sometimes just like a true Taurus, I tackle it in a bullish way. I get annoyed at how some people hold back feelings and thoughts, especially with someone who shares a 100% mutual trust. Because I’m an open person I forget very easily why some people don’t open up and then when they don’t ,I get even more frustrated at myself because I’m sitting on my hands, watching someone I love being upset and I feel like I can’t do anything because the walls are up. When you want to knock down the walls and open up the door to see a smile, it can be quite frustrating. But this constant head on approach can be quite smothering and it’s most certainly one of my flaws.

However…if, like I should have done all those weeks ago been a little less selfish and a little less bullish, I don’t think we would have had our tiff (not an argument, because in 8 years we’ve never argued!). Sometimes it’s good to take a step back and think of why someone has done something in the way they have or recognise earlier that they need some space to sort things out and that when they’re ready they’ll come to you. I was guilty of that recently and she was guilty of taking things out on me when she didn’t mean to and not opening up about what was going on inside her head. So apologies all-round were given : ) . But see another communication lesson learned here, if she said this is what’s up but I need some space to work it out in my head first, then I wouldn’t have tried to be a knight on a charging bull, even if she knows my intentions are always for good 😛


2. Don’t dry your dirty laundry in public

This one is a mistake I learned from years ago, yet some people still make it and this isn’t an attack on said person because I’ve spoken to them about it and we both knew how when you’re angry you don’t exactly think straight! This mistake is when we put our angry thoughts to a Facebook status without either, A. Having the full facts and B. usually not even facing the person you’re angry at in person.

Like I said I was massively guilty of this in 6th form. After all I set up this blog in year 12 to vent my anger at numerous people in my form and the truly idiotic clickyness and damn right injustice thrown my way from people in that place. Even today I hold a strong distaste too many of them, I doubt they’ve ever changed, in fact I know that! Insert smug face here.

Getting your angry message out in the open can work for you sometimes and others it can slap you in the face. When I started those blogs in year 12 I was backed into a corner and I was under attack day after day in a vicious environment of rumours, back stabbing and not being able to trust anyone but myself. When you try and stand up for yourself in an environment like that it’s very hard to do it and survive. I knew if I got my message out there, got people on my side, I knew the tables would turn in my favour. People love to read gossip and hardship. With each new blog, the number of readers grew, the hatred from those people increased (which fuelled more blogs) but the support and comments after every blog for me grew and grew. People began to see what I was facing, supported me and ultimately won. I big part of me still thinks I was elected as head boy on the back of those blogs, there was no bigger advertisement of “I fight for what is right and stand up for what I believe in” than those blogs. But before you go looking, I’m pretty sure those old blogs are long since gone into cybernet landfill. That’s because although they were hilariously sarcastic and damn right truthful, let’s face it it’s not very clever hiding behind a keyboard but when you’re in a corner you do what you can.

So, sometimes it works, other times you just feel like a grade A tosser. Case in point a few months ago I was still raw over my break up, I see my ex all cosy with some guy on Facebook, she gets frapped and the status could be seen as something more than it was , I put two and two together (Okay I’m not 100% at fault here, I’m sure many would have at least thought the same as I did). I was angry and disappointed and took to Facebook to rant about it. At the time like the person did the other day when you’re angry you just want to shout it all over Facebook, look like the down trodden poor person who should be in the right. When the anger wears off you realise you just looked like a massive bell-end and someone who jumped to the wrong conclusions, you end up looking like a crazy person and you show absolutely no respect for that person and everything you went through. So when my ex handled it like an adult, something which I failed to do, when she came and had a quiet word with me in private, explained the situation (full respect to her, I mean most wouldn’t have done that. So thank you) and allowed me to apologise at how unbelievably stupid I had been over absolutely nothing. I went home after uni that day with my tail between my legs, licking my wounds of how I was a complete and utter floppy Phallus.

Back to this week, this person ranted and raved on Facebook, accusing people, left right and centre before confronting the people involved. It’s not big, it’s not clever and when no one responds, you just look like a crazy person ranting on Facebook about something nobody knows nothing about. But like I said I’m not having a go at this person because hell I’ve done it before and no matter how good our intentions or reasons are at the start for the rant, when the dust settles we just realise that a social media warfare, no-one wins and usually, if the people are anything like my ex, will win hands down with a dignified adult like response in private and you’ll just be left feeling like a tit. Plus a person who rants about you on Facebook also runs the risk of being publicly humiliated if you come up with a brilliant counter argument. So it’s not worth it! 😛

Final notes – We give a lot of leeway to those we love but how much is too much?

So all this week, especially facilitating that three way argument and realising my patience with the tiff with Sarah I realised that those that we love, we really let them get away with more than just a normal person would have. That’s part and parcel of love tho I guess, you do compremise, well you should! You are more inclined to give an extra inch and benefit of the doubt here and there, and when you have a close relationship built upon 8 years of marriage, trust and love, you’re always going to give more rope than someone you’ve just met. It’s good to be patient and to give where you can because it helps and especially when the two sides apologise, realise both are special to each other, you thank yourself for not walking away and for sticking it out. We are anyway. It’s what best friends do: P

But with this argument thing, I won’t go into too much detail because their love life has nothing to do with you guys but It certainly tests the ideas of how much leeway and time does one person get and to what point do you realise it’s time to walk away. Sometimes the hardest but the most right of things to do is to walk away from someone you love. Saying you give up sometimes is not a weakness, it can be one of the strongest and bravest things you can ever do. My ex broke up with ages ago because she wanted to concentrate on dissertation and some other things in the future and as we did love each other, I could see the hurt in her teary eyes as she told me. Not for one second do I think it was easy for her to break up with me and I hold a big respect for that. To let go of someone you love I bet wasn’t easy at all. Was it the right decision? Well I can’t answer that, I have my opinion, I’m sure now we’ve finished uni and got our dissertation marks she’ll have hers and I’m sure you have one too 😛

For these people in this argument, especially one of them has given so much time to wait for the other person. The other person is torn over feelings to so it was never going to be a day and night decision but it’s come to the point now where if they got together it could work and could be brilliant and as I’m a hopeless romantic I hope that happens! But it’s also come to the point where one of them could say enough is enough, we’re going round in circles, it’s time to love myself and find myself again.

I don’t know what the outcome will be. In the long run whatever happens it will be beneficial to both in whatever they decide! Good luck you two!

So I hope you’ve taken on-board some of the things I’ve said tonight, I learned a few lessons and I hope you have too tonight. I hope you’ve learned that communication is a key point and that if we were all more open to each other about our problems with people we’re angry with then there would be a lot less arguments and much more stronger relationships. Tonight I hope you’ve also learned that when you go to war on a status the only winner is the one you’re insulting and finally I hope you’ve learned that sometimes giving up is brave and sticking it out can be courageous and rewarding!

Until next time folks,

Tony      C