Reflections on friendship and my life

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.

Facebook friendship

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.

Thinking positively

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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22 Comments

  1. Enda Sheppard July 31, 2018 / 11:19 am

    Not easy this friendship business is it? No matter how much we try, we bring our old doubts and insecurities to the party with us. In fairness, people who don’t answer immediately on Facebook or rush to meet up aren’t always just about ignoring us, or not rating us. I often think of the times I mean to contact someone, or tell myself I need to socialise more, but, really, I suppose it’s a combination of being lazy or tired after a full day, but also just being happy here in the house with my family around.

  2. Laurie July 31, 2018 / 11:32 am

    Friendships are definitely trick. I have a group of friends that I have known for a long time and feel very fortunate to have them to socialize with. I have a different group of friends whom I have met through running – also a lot of fun. My online “friends” (many of whom I have never met in person) tend to be a group of positive, interesting people. Friendships enrich my life immeasurably. I can’t imagine what I would do without them!

  3. Amanda July 31, 2018 / 12:44 pm

    I have to admit that I have generally always found friendships reasonably easy to navigate. But as I have grown up I have come to realise that this isn’t all that common, and that a lot of people struggle with it, my husband included! And I find THAT hard to wrap my head around, because it’s always hard to see the challenges faced by others when dealing with something you intuitively understand. Does that make sense?

    I’m not saying things don’t go wrong for me, because they do! I’ve had friendships end horrifically. I’ve also had friendships that have simply slowly drifted into nothing. But that’s just life, I think. But new friendships have always developed along the way, and some of my closest friends are those I’ve met online and either never met or only met a few times. In fact my Soul Sister and O’s “Faery Godmother” lives in Switzerland and I only get to see her once every few years.

    Another friend from school, who I only knew for 3 years before her family moved on again, got married when living in Rome and we went over having not seen her in years and it was like we had never been apart. Some friendships simply don’t need a constant connection to work. Others take a LOT of effort to maintain. I think those are the harder ones to understand, because you have to be certain that the friendship continues to work for both of you, as they often change depending on life circumstances.

    I hope I’m making some kind of sense? I think what I’m trying to say is that whilst I can’t understand how challenging you find friendship, I still know how many different forms of friendship there can be and navigating them all can be very confusing!

    Just keep on exploring it all Kate, you’re figuring it out one step at a time xx

  4. Rosie Doal July 31, 2018 / 3:28 pm

    Kate, I honestly loved this post so much. The way you opened yourself up and spoke about friendship especially on International Friendship Day. You’re right – if people don’t bother responding to messages or avoid spending time with you, then they are not genuine friends. Those are hard to find. #GlobalBlogging

  5. Chloe July 31, 2018 / 4:34 pm

    Friendships can be difficult yet essential and very rewarding at the same time. I have friends from a variety of backgrounds, school, work, online and from sport. All of which play important roles in my life and who I would be lost without #triumphanttales

  6. Karen, the next best thing to mummy August 1, 2018 / 8:59 am

    I have definitely found out who my best friends are since suffering a stroke which has left me disabled, the ones that I thought would help, haven’t and several have surprised me #bloggerclubuk@_karendennis199@gmail nis

  7. Zara August 1, 2018 / 9:07 am

    I am a firm fan of letting go of those that you have little in common with, or that when it came down to the last slice of cake, you’d be less likely to share with them. That said, my closest friends are considerably different to me on just about every level of life you can imagine – however it just works. I think that those friendships are the ones that are built to last. I don’t mind if my dearest friends and I don’t communicate every day, and nor do they – I think that is why we have all ticked along together for years. Personally, I am very comfortable in my own company, and don’t expect that to change any time soon. I think the old expectations of how friendships works were shaken up with things like blogging, facebook, twitter and online gaming – friendship is now more fluid than ever. I think the most important aspect is what you are happy with. Contentment above all.

  8. Jeremy@ThirstyDaddy August 1, 2018 / 9:32 pm

    I was always perfectly content with keeping casual contact with my old friends until I went through some stuff last year and found that the people that were really there for me not only weren’t the ones that I would have expected, but also how much it meant to me that they were. Kind of opened my eyes a bit #triumphantales

  9. Jean | DelightfulRepast.com August 2, 2018 / 3:29 pm

    Kate, what a lovely and thoughtful post. The descriptions of your children reminded me of how helpful the MBTI personality typing can be for parents. Are you familiar with that? Friends–something some of us never quite figure out. I think while some friends are friends for life, most are for a season–an important part of a certain time in our life, but then they fall away to the fringes–and that’s okay.

  10. Jaki August 2, 2018 / 5:07 pm

    I love this post Kate. I have been re-evaluating some ‘friendships’ lately and very recently I have moved away from one that was dragging me down. After being left out and not invited to several things that once upon a time I would have been invited to, after having messages ignored, I decided enough was enough. I don’t need people like that in my life and I feel so much better for doing it, even though it was hard to admit it was over. I like your outlook that new friendships are around the corner. That is such an exciting way to look at it. Thank you for joining in at #TriumphantTales, we hope to see you again next week!

  11. Noleen Miller August 3, 2018 / 11:37 am

    To me friendship is like any other relationship. It needs work – it’s a give and take, it’s about trust, commitment and being genuine with the next person without any pretense (this goes both ways) #dreamteam

  12. Lisa Pomerantz August 3, 2018 / 5:50 pm

    Good friends are a gift to be treasured, not easy to find, and worthy of the attachment. #globalblogging xoxo

  13. chickenruby August 3, 2018 / 7:05 pm

    I think we both have similar views on this, i’ve tended to hang onto negative friends for far too long, in recent years I’ve been badly hurt and let down #bestbootforward

  14. Heather Keet August 4, 2018 / 11:50 am

    I am very social and make friends easily, a necessity since I was a military kid and am now a military wife. Moving forces you to adapt. However, I do keep my Facebook to just friends I met in real life who I actually want to keep in touch with. There is no sense being Facebook friends with someone who you don’t interact with.

  15. Musings of a tired mummy...zzz... August 4, 2018 / 8:33 pm

    True friends are the ones you can not see for ages and then they come back into your life and your relationship hasn’t changed. Friends on FB are mostly acquaintances or colleagues or former friends. Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

  16. vicky August 5, 2018 / 2:45 pm

    Ah Friendships. Something I have thought about alot recently. Real friends are hard to find, I worry that the whole social media friendship situation is distancing us from real friends. Its a tricky one. At the moment I am keeping my distance from folk and taking time to rethink things. I am hoping that those who are truely friends will shine through x

  17. Helena August 5, 2018 / 6:13 pm

    My sister used to try to get one up by saying she had more friends than me. I’m rather happy pootling along doing my own thing. As you say meeting up with people outside and using home as a sanctuary to escape to.#thursdayteam

  18. Confessions of a New Mummy August 5, 2018 / 8:52 pm

    Really interesting post Kate and hit a chord with me. I’m someone who’s quite solitary with just a few people I would call friends. Friendships are hard work, whatever your age, I think its just about finding those you click with and being honest about yourself, for example I always let anyone I become chatty/friendly with know that I’m terrible at replying to messages and can be quite forgetful so that they know not to take it personally! Thanks for linking up #twinklytuesdsay

  19. Kirsty - Winnettes (@winnettes_) August 8, 2018 / 12:52 pm

    Friendship is definitley different for everyone. I have a select few friends but my best friend seemingly has hundreds of them. I would say we are both happy with what we have as we get different things from our own surroundings. Either way new friends really are just around the corner. Thank you for joining #ThursdayTeam

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