I, like Penny, have not posted in a while, and as I will be off playing with puppets next week (and no, MW, it’s not the kind of ‘playing’ YOU are thinking of!!) I thought I should catch up on a bit of posting. Thing is I’m not really sure what to write about, there are so many thoughts in my head at the moment (I ACTUALLY have a headache from them all buzzing around, I’m not messin!), but then I read Someone Living’s ‘community/friendship’ blog and that kinda hit a nerve. I too like to think of myself as being a loyal friend and hope that this is how my friends think of me. A few months ago I left Dublin to move to London. It was very stressful moving, leaving family, familiarity, finding somewhere to live, a job etc. However, these weren’t my greatest worries (probably should have been, but weren’t!!). The two things I was most concerned about were 1.) Keeping in touch with everyone I was leaving back in Dublin; 2.) Making new friends in London. I have a constant fear that I’m going to lose contact with friends and so if I don’t get a chance to email/text people for a while it causes me to feel physically stressed and get headaches (might be what’s wrong with me today!) So from this you can deduce that friends play a very important role in my life. If the world was to end and only one person could be saved and somebody offered me the chance to be that person I would turn it down, because I actually don’t think I could survive without friends and certainly I would consider my life not worth living if I were alone. But ironically placing this much value in friendship has caused me to lose a couple of friends and come close to losing a few more. Sounds odd I know. I think the thing was, a few years ago, I would have done anything for a friend, but then when this wasn’t reciprocated I used to get really upset and think that the person wasn’t really a friend, whereas in fact they were, they just had enough self-confidence to know that no matter how good a friend was they should still put their own needs first and their friends would still stick around. This concept was alien to me. I used to do odd things like if I had arranged to meet someone I couldn’t bring myself to cancel on them, even if I was feeling incredibly ill I would still drag myself to the arranged meeting place and nurse a pint for the duration of the night. Or if a friend needed help doing something I would stay up all night helping them and get no sleep before going to work the next morning. Silly stuff like that. So I got into a pattern of doing stuff for people and going along with what they wanted to do because I was afraid they would ditch me if I didn’t and then feeling disappointed when they didn’t do the same for me. (I remember getting annoyed at a really good friend cos she said she didn’t want to come for a pint cos she was tired!? Sounds daft when I think of it now but at the time I felt so let down because I would never have cancelled on her, much less for a crumby excuse like being tired!?! Haha) Then something happened that changed how I viewed friendship and kind of changed my personality into the bargain. A couple of years ago I got particularly upset when a really good friend started seeing someone and therefore had less time to spend with me. This of course led to stress whenever we did get to spend time together and got to the point where being around me was just too stressful and the friendship fell apart completely and finished on really bad terms. (See No.8 in mememes!!) This made me review how I conducted friendships basically and I started to make friendships fit in with what I wanted and needed and learned to depend on them slightly less. I suppose I became slightly cynical at first but luckily this subsided somewhat as my shaken faith in friends slowly but surely rebuilt itself.
This brings me on to another reason for friendships failing, what happens if you start to like a friend as more than a friend? I used to think that guys and girls could just be friends and no more but I’m starting to change my mind on that one, especially having watched ‘When Harry Met Sally’ for the first time recently. I think Harry had a point! It’s almost impossible to hang out with someone of the particular gender you tend towards, like them (obviously, because you’re hanging out with them in the first place!) and not develop stronger feelings for them as the friendship grows. Hmmm, but that’s another post really, just another of those annoying buzzings in my head, haha!
Then there’s the ‘finding out who your REAL friends are’ kinda of situation. I saw this only too blatently last year when something really terrible happened to my friend and her family. Some of her friends just really weren’t there for her, too caught up in their own comparatively insignificant dlilemmas, but her true friends were there and these friendships strengthened a hundred fold, maybe because she now had confidence in who her friends were when it mattered and left the ‘fake’ friendships by the wayside.
I suppose to sum up (as if I had a point to begin with!!) for me friendship isn’t all rosie in the garden all of the time, it’s not like the ‘friendship’ merchandise with the cute bears that you can pick up in The Card Gallery. Also, although I’ve gotten a bit more confident about not feeling like I have to never let my friends down (as regards little things like going for a pint, I hope I will always be there for people I care about when it matters) I still feel like a friendship is what I make of it, it takes effort (especially when the people concerned are living in a different country!) and its like a constant learning curve, if I’ve lost a friend then I try not to do again with some else what brought about the demise of that friendship etc. So back to my point, em, which was…um…. Well I suppose it’s just a few of my thoughts on and experiences of friendship really!