Today’s post is a little different from my previous posts…
In my experience you have different kinds of friendships in different parts of your life. When you’re younger, friendship is usually more about circumstance than choice. If you sit next to the girl in class with french plaits, and you also wear french plaits, that’s pretty much bestie territory right there. When you’re a teenager, having a deep love of the same boyband is enough to bond with someone and be friends. It’s only when you become an adult that I think friendship gets a little harder. As a teenager in the 00’s, I came home from school and spent my nights watching shows like Friends and Will & Grace. I was naive and blissfully ignorant to think that as you changed and grew, so did your friendships.
Now, I’ve always been very shy; I’ve always took a back seat in group situations and the thought of the attention being all on me makes me feel physically sick. When I was younger I was just happy to have a ‘friendship group’ – I was never the funniest, the smartest, the prettiest or the most popular, and that was more than okay. I was just happy to be part of something. I definitely went along with what the crowd thought and was always eager to be included in whatever was going on at the time. I think friendships as a teenager can be especially difficult – girls get a bad rep for being ‘bitchy’ or ‘mean’ but in my experience, this is true. I have been bitched about, and I have bitched about others. That is not something I’m proud of, by any means, but I do think it’s a part of growing up.
I am still very close with a few lovely girls I went to high school with, and I adore them! But, as I left school and started college, I made new friends too. This was when it finally it clicked. The right people will like you for you, not who you’re trying to be. If I could go back and tell my ten-year old self that I’m sure I would have found growing up a whole lot easier. I think when you’re a teenager you’re just trying to figure it all out – who your friends are and who you are. I’m grateful for meandering through my teenage years – copying my friends and my friends copying me – because that has shown me the kind of friend I want to be and strive to be every day.
In my opinion, friendships should not be based on anything other than joy. You should want to be around your friends; to feel loved and nurtured and supported. You shouldn’t ever feel like you’re being judged, or that your opinions don’t matter or that you can’t be yourself. Why is this so much easier to admit as an adult than it is as a teenager?!
I don’t think in 2018 distance should matter to a friendship. Yes, you absolutely need face-to-face time together (and who doesn’t love catching up over drinks or food?!) but anyone in the world is literally a text or a FaceTime away. So why in a culture where we are so tuned into being social, are friendships still falling apart?
Don’t get me wrong, life does get busy. As we grow up, we have different interests, likes and dislikes. The reality is that often, face-to-face meetings turn to phone calls, phone calls turn to texts, and not seeing each other for a week turns into a month. As anyone who’s ever texted me will tell you, texting back is not my strong point. That being said, I love very hard – I have so much love and respect for all my friends, past and present, because they are who made me who I am today. I think as you get older one of the worst things about losing friendships is there is no break up moment. When you’re younger and ‘fall out’ with someone, it’s often more dramatic than a Shakespearean play. They ‘hate’ you, you ‘hate’ them, you point score and, if you two are part of a larger friendship group, sides are chosen. Suddenly a silly tiff is like the beginning of World War III.
As adults there are no fall outs. There’s none of the shouting or crying or, for the most part, the bitching. I think losing friendships as an adult is something that usually happens over a long period of time; such a long time that you don’t realise until it’s happened. It’s a case of wanting to ask a friend to go for lunch but wondering what they even do on a Saturday afternoon these days. Or of seeing a Facebook post and realising someone you once knew so deeply, has created a whole life you know nothing about. That’s the really sad thing about growing up – it is so easy to drift apart when life gets busy. Whilst falling in love with your new lives, you fall out of love with each other. And that is heartbreaking. I admit that I have been, and maybe still am in some ways, a bad friend. I have learned, in the past year more than ever, that every part of a friendship needs to be worked at; people have different needs and it’s important to nurture those as well as your own.
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Millennial friendships in a nutshell:
*sees old friend in Asda, doing her weekly shop*
“OMG hi! I haven’t seen you for ages!” *generic catching up* “we absolutely have to go for drinks, I’ll message you a few nights I’m free next week!”
– the week passes by with a generic text or two, no plans are made –
*sees same old friend picking up a takeaway three weeks later*
“I’m so sorry I totally forgot to reply! We absolutely must meet up for drinks! Why don’t we try that new place in town?”
*and repeat over and over again until that friend moves away and you never have to awkwardly bump into them again*
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I am not at all embarrassed to admit my boyfriend is my best friend, and he’s the best friend I’ve ever had. In fact, I’m so proud to say that. Our relationship started as a friendship; someone to laugh with till the early hours, to turn to when life was hard, to share funny stories with. Matt is the first person I tell any news to, happy or sad. We always agree on what/where to eat, we have never argued over who’s wearing who’s dress (he always lets me choose first 😉 ) and, for real, he’s never made me feel bad for being who I am. There’s never been an ounce of jealousy or rudeness between us, that’s an unconditional love that I don’t think comes around very often. We always say we love being part of our team, and it’s true. I know that the foundation of our relationship being so strong is a blessing, one I’m thankful for every day. Being in love with my best friend is the best thing I could ever ask for, I didn’t know a love like we have existed in the ‘real world’. You know when you watch movies and think couples can’t possibly be that in love? *cheesy moment* that’s how I feel every day, and I’m so grateful. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t live in each others pockets and we don’t spend every waking moment together (admittedly, sometimes I wish we did) but I know that everything will always be okay with him by my side. He makes me a better person in every possible way and if you’re reading this Matt, (I know you are 🙊) I love you unconditionally.
All of the above is true in my experience, and probably in yours, but there are always people that life never becomes an issue for. People who can put you before themselves, and know that when it matters you’ll put them before yourself. I am so grateful that I have friends that I bloody love. The friend I’ve known since I was three, the crazy friend that I love dearly, the friend from school, the always-up-for-a-night-out friend, the friend from work, the friend I barely ever see but when you do it’s like no time has passed, etc… I am very lucky to have amazing people around me and I appreciate them more than they know. I feel as proud of their successes as I would of my own, and I am fiercely loyal to them, as they are to me.
Real talk: I wish there was a Tinder for friendships. I don’t know about you, but I scroll through Instagram and Twitter almost every day thinking I relate so much to *insert name* and *insert name*. There’s some weird unwritten rule that you don’t just approach another girl and ask her out for coffee and a chat (I don’t drink coffee, but you get my point) and I wish as a society we could change that. Other than being super lucky and finding similar aged girls you love at work (very grateful that is my reality), making friends as an adult is very difficult, in my experience. When we’re drunk in the toilets of a night club we act as though we’ve known each other since birth and love each other unconditionally for those five minutes. (Or, even better, when you see your afore-mentioned bestie from the toilets in another bar later in the night, you act as though you’re long-lost sisters, finally reunited). Classic. Maybe if we all start being more friendly and outgoing towards each other, new friendships can be born and we can laugh about a time when this wasn’t accepted.
Well… if you made it to the end of this post, I salute you! Thank you so much for reading, I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions? Also, if you ever want to grab a coffee (tea for me), I promise I’d never make it weird.
“When the world is so complicated, the simple gift of friendship is in all of our hands” – Maria Shriver