So much focus in life revolves around friendships. I hear of people meeting up with their mates from university now they’re in their 40’s. Of people who have friends dating way back to childhood. Making close friends and keeping them has always been a struggle for me. We want our children to have friends and feel confident and we worry for them if they’re a bit of a loner.
I had a group of friends in high school that stuck together all the time. To be honest I think we were just all the misfits that nobody else wanted in their group. We didn’t stay in touch after school. In fact I bumped into one of them a few years back. We arranged to meet up for coffee. The conversation soon stalled after we’d reminisced and swapped wedding stories. After that we just had nothing in common any more.
I did have a close friend during my early 20’s and into my 30’s. We worked in the same department. We ended up being Godparent to each other’s children. We used to have monthly Girls Night Out (GNO), resulting in food, a lot of drink and maybe a club. I went running to support her when she found out her husband was cheating on her. Arranging GNOs seemed to end up in my lap all the time and when she started a new relationship, he’d be on the phone to her all the time during our night out. We’d barely speak between GNOs and I remember deciding that I deliberately wouldn’t contact her to arrange the next one to see what would happen. Nothing happened. Not if I didn’t make it happen. We drifted apart. Haven’t seen or spoken to her in years now.
So, now I don’t have a best friend. Sometimes that bothers me because there’s no one to share my innermost thoughts with, some things that can’t be shared with your husband. Most of the time, it doesn’t really worry me. But I do miss going out with the girls type evenings where you have a good laugh, put the world to rights and just have a great time.
I have lots of acquaintances through #bellringing but I don’t tend to socialise outside of ringing. Only perhaps one other couple, but that’s as a couple, not me on my own. I have colleagues at work who I can share some things with but again, there are things you can’t always share with them either.
I don’t have that solid group of girl friends to rely on to help me navigate the ups and downs of life.
I find I edit myself when I’m with others to avoid sounding ignorant or uninteresting, or end up just sitting there listening to these larger than life, exuberant, interesting, erudite others with nothing to contribute or not being able to get a word in edgeways even if I did have something to add.
Constant stroking of other people’s egos by liking or commenting well crafted platitudes on their social media is not something I do well. If you get a comment from me, its genuine. I can’t do false praise or flattery.
Therapist Sally Baker, in an article in October’s Psychologies Magazine written by Emma Reed, suggested that rather than spending lots of energy on others we should try tapping into our own intuition to determine what it is we really need from friendships. Do your friends make you feel good about yourself, or judged? Do you need a raucous group night out or a quiet chat over a cup of tea in the garden?
Like all relationships its a two way affair. So many times I have dropped things to run off to support someone in a time of crisis yet I know they, nor anyone else would do it for me. There are those infuriating people who post on social media about being there for you if you need them. I wonder how many would actually drop everything and come running, or how quickly the excuses would start.
I don’t have a posse but I do have a number of people I can talk to in certain situations. I don’t have that one or two who I can tell all my innermost thoughts to. I’m not sure I’d have someone to call if my life went totally up the swanny. But then maybe I don’t need it.
What do you seek from friendship? And do you get it?
One thought on “Are you seeking the wrong tribe in the wrong place?”
Thought provoking post. Totally with you on this one. No one super close that I think I could rely on. Even harder to make friends in a new location when you’re older. Does make you quite resilient in some situations but does make you wonder if and why you’re not everyone’s favourite person. Not fitting in but remaining true to your own standards 🤔