Friendship is a concept I have reflected on deeply recently. Let’s start by saying that I have rarely found it at all easy to make friends. I am shy by nature although some people argue with this idea strongly so perhaps I mask it well on occasion. I was different as a young person in various ways – adopted, travelled a lot at weekends, had older parents and grown-up brothers and had an annoying habit of often coming top of the class. Oh and I was rubbish at sport. Was I rejected or did I just expect it to happen so pushed people away first? Probably a mix of the two to be fair.
Is it important to have friends in your life?
I watch my daughter and see that she is pretty self-sufficient. She does not need a load of people in her life. She used to entertain herself with drawing and now that is supplemented with online art and design and her passions around Japan, myths and things that capture her interest in our home education journey. Perhaps it is absolutely OK to live a more solitary life if you are happy? My youngest son is great at socialising but equally happy doing his own thing. My teenager is the most bothered about having friends around him. My husband likes having acquaintances but does not let anyone really get close. I guess we are all different. Although I love having friends, I can find too many overwhelming and would not want a host of people calling around to see me all the time. Like my mum, I like to do my socialising away from my home and then return to my safe sanctuary when I am ready to do so.
Right from the start, I have struggled with the “friends” label on Facebook. My friends tend to be people I know. My husband’s tend to be people he has “met” through online games which I find odd. How can they possibly be defined as friends? My friends tend to be heartfelt ones and people I feel a genuine connection with. Of course because of blogging I make online friends and it is difficult to turn down a friends request but on the whole if I was true to myself my Facebook friends would only be people I had met in real life. Online and offline friends are different in my view except in the arena where you meet online but life throws you together in the real world and you bond.
What I want from a friend
It’s all about heart for me. I am not really interested in just chatting or in collecting friends to prove how popular I am. I want a friend who is willing to get to know me and to let me get to know them deeply too. I want loyalty and someone who will not bad-mouth me behind my back. Recently I have realised that people I used to know at school or college really aren’t that bothered about seeing me again ever and might ignore me online too. That hurts hugely. If I suggest a meeting at some point and it is just blanked or navigated around, I have to fight myself to not define myself as worthless. I am beyond such thinking but when friends let me down, I have to steel myself and remind myself that I am an amazing and lovely person. If certain people can’t see that and value me, so be it. Needless to say, I love to laugh and converse so my best friends tend to have those qualities. The best of all I can spot even before we become friends. These thoughts make me wonder if I should end some friendships. If someone does not leap at the chance to see me again, do they really care? If someone does not respond to messages on Facebook, are they really saying they don’t want to communicate with me again? I don’t want to force myself on people however much I would like to have them in my life in some way.
I don’t want to end this post on a downer so am thinking positively as I conclude. You never know where you will find those heartfelt friends so it is an exciting journey. For years I thought my time for making friends was over as I struggled with depression and all the challenges of parenting and other close relationships. Blogging led to new friends first online and then up close and personal. I moved last year and have a load of male friends probably for the first time since college days recently. I am a good friend. I am loyal. I will be there for you when you need me. I will go out of my way to help. I hope I am a good laugh and these days I can even do hugs and kisses with aplomb.
The truth is however much I love them it is probably high time I let some old friends go. Perhaps some friendship is just for a short time and perhaps however much I struggle with that, it is fundamentally OK. There are so many people in the world and these days I am confident enough to know that new friends really are just around the corner. Friendship is a wonderful thing when you get it right and that takes the two of you trying hard or waving goodbye.
Linking up with Triumphant Tales