This blog post was inspired by a recent article I read on Refinery29uk. The article takes an interesting look at modern friendships without the presence of rose tinted specs.
If you’re a regular here, you’ll know I’ve been writing about my friendships, and the insecurities I experience in such relationships for quite a while now. This particular article though, was like nothing I’ve read before. Going in with all the clichés here… I felt like it spoke to me! Exploring the paradox of bad friend vs too much of a good friend, was a really interesting take and it’s something I myself have been thinking about in recent years, during times of deep insecurity, to understand myself better I guess. During a very long stint in therapy I examined what it was that made me feel so insecure and oftentimes, anxious, about my friendships. In short, a lot of it stems from my perception of the world and having a lack of stability in certain relationships growing up. Still though, these feelings gnaw at me like a puppy trying to cut new teeth.
What I loved about the article mentioned above, was that it really acknowledges that these feelings of deep-rooted insecurity are somewhat common in friendship, and they’re also often to do with our need to please. Like the women depicted in Lauren Geall’s article, I am a person who gives everything to my friendships and then acts confused when it’s not reciprocated. What’s that saying…. You can’t spend your whole life holding the door open for people then get mad when they don’t thank you! In a nutshell, that’s me.
Back when I was in my twenties I would be on the phone for hours at a time ignoring my partner to chat to my friend about her latest relationship drama. I would despise and refuse to speak to the ex, who may have hit or cheated on her – loyal to a fault. I was that puppy, a Rottweiler puppy, with no training and a lot of showing off. But then when I was ostracised from a local pub I frequented because a situationship went sour, none of my then ‘friends’ came with me. They all still went there, chatted and drank with the guy who turned my life upside down and rolled their eyes at me when I got annoyed or upset about it.
Now, in my thirties, my friendships are less dramatic and loyalty doesn’t necessarily mean swilling my mate’s ex on a night out. For me, it simply means caring about a person and letting them know that. Since becoming chronically unwell people have stopped inviting me out. I get it, because the likelihood of me going, without pulling off military style planning, is slim. But I still have friends who check in, want to meet up, for breakfast and a cuppa and I feel less insecure and more sure of my place in their lives. It’s the same when you have kids, lose a loved one, or struggle with your mental health, so many people don’t know how to approach you, so they just stop. Would I do that? No, I wouldn’t. But this is where the article got interesting, because it questions the narrative of fault lying with us, the puppies… because whose fault is it? Is it even anybodies?
What I’ve learned whilst navigating adult friendships is this, some people will just leave your life without a backward glance and it hurts like hell, but you have to accept those people aren’t your people. Some people will drift and then return and others will be there through it all. But even those that are there through it all, they might not be there in the capacity you would, if the boot was on the other foot. Because they aren’t you!
Bottom line…. Lower your expectations, treat everyone with kindness and cut out anything that feels forced or fake. Life is too short for shitty eyebrows and shitty friends.