“Do you want to be friends?”
If only making friends in your mid-twenties was this easy.
I was recently thinking about my friends and how long it’s taken me to find them. Making friends is tough work and, for me, can be likened to dating; you have to put a lot of work in and sometimes friendships, like any relationship, don’t work out.
For a large portion of my teenage life, I was in a relationship and naturally, our friendship circle merged and his friends were mine and vice versa. I had a few friends of my own through uni and work but my good friends were mutually shared.
When the relationship broke down, the friendship group became a little complicated, with ‘his’ and ‘her’ sides subtly forming. The break up was a little messy and I hated that every time I was invited out, he would be too. One day I made the decision to ‘unfriend’ my group of friends and start from scratch, how hard could it be right?
In hindsight, it was totally impulsive and if I were to do it again, I probably wouldn’t have been so hotheaded in the choice, but I was just a baby of 21 and at that moment I thought it was what I needed to do.
During the following six years, I struggled with rebuilding my friendship circle and felt like there was something wrong with me and I was destined to a life of a Nigel-no-friends. Don’t get me wrong, I had friends and I still have one who has stood the test of time (and impulsive ‘unfriending’) but in terms of a group, it was hard.
I decided that I had to be the kid on the playground who makes the effort to metaphorically ask someone to ‘be my friend.’ I decided to put myself in social situations where I could meet new people, which if you know me, you’ll know I hate small talk and suffer from resting bitch face so it wasn’t going to be easy.
If you’re a regular reader you’ll know I study French and from this class that I’ve met some really great people who I really enjoy spending time with. We routinely catch up over cheese and wine (it’s important to work on the cultural side of learning French as well!) and because of this common interest, we really enjoy each other’s company.
I also have made some amazing friends from work who even after starting a new job, we still remain in touch. It’s inevitable that we form a bond with our colleagues, I mean we spend eight hours with them a day, but it’s the time you spend together out of the office that you really get to know someone.
It wasn’t until I recently realised that I didn’t need to have one BIG friendship group, and I could have friends that didn’t necessarily know each other did I start to take notice of the great people around me.
In High school or on social media, your popularity is measured by how many ‘friends’ you have, but as I’m getting older, I’m happy to be more selective if who I spend my time with. You may have thousands of followers on Instagram, but how many of them know you hate olives or remember your birthday without facebook reminding them?
On my way into work this morning, I was listening to episode three of my new favourite podcast, Offline. Guest Carmen Hamilton shared that it always seems the influencers we follow on Instagram have a huge group of friends, and I couldn’t agree more! Everyone’s life looks so perfect and their group of 16 friends are amazing and it’s tough not comparing yourself to these accounts.
Look at the famous friendships, Harry had two best friends, Carrie had three and Rory only had one. Let’s stop judging our worth by how many Facebook friends we have, how many likes we got on our last post or the size of our friendship group. It’s more about quality not quantity for me.
On a side note, please check out Offline the podcast. It is a refreshing insight into the lives of those amazing women we follow on social, offline. Created by Alison Rice, this podcast will honestly change your perspective on a lot of things. (I have a post dedicated to the series in the woodwork!)
– tgfs x