Being an adult can be the most rewarding and also most difficult and frustrating time of your life.. and considering you’re an adult from the age of 18 until you die, that’s saying that basically you’re life goes pretty downhill until you find eternal rest (if you do).
The thing I am finding the hardest lately, is friendship.
Yes.. those warm, fuzzy, alcohol fueled relationships that CAN make your life much more bearable, memorable and fun.
When you’re in school, or even uni, it is quite easy to make friends, really. You don’t have to put a lot of effort in since you’re going to see those people almost every day of the week, and you don’t have to have much in common for the friendship to start out – sometimes it can be as simple as ‘have a tequila shot’ or ‘can i borrow a condom’ (hopefully not while you’re in primary school though).
Ever since I can remember I’ve been a bit of a social butterfly. My dad used to say that he would take me to parks or to beaches and I’d automatically introduce myself and make friends, and when he says ‘make friends’ I actually sometimes used to bully kids into playing with me…. don’t fuck with a ginger kid.
This didn’t change during school, after I got over my pizza face phase and started to find confidence, I had many friends in many different social circles and different schools even. This has continued to occur throughout my adult years. Some of the people I consider my nearest and dearest have no association to any others. I had a uni circle of friends that I still remain close to, however, most of my friends come from different places in time that I have randomly met and decided, “hey I like you, you strange human… lets be
friends and do things together… vodka?”
The thing is, when you get older, move away, fall in love, have kids etc. it gets harder and harder in life to maintain friendships. Most people are in the same boat and understand that you really just don’t have all the time in the world to talk every day and that even though you maybe BFF’s, work is more important than spending hours at the shopping centre trawling for hot fashion and hot men… (ok I don’t think I’ve done that since I was 14… but I’m sure that’s what some BFFFFFFs… do..)
Most of the time, this is ok.
However, sometimes, this causes problems such as the one I am currently trying to deal with.
I had a dear friend who I’ve known for close to ten years and who has been part of my life for most of the ups and downs as an adult. We’ve hardly ever seen eye to eye and I consider her more of a sister because we can fight like cats and dogs, but know that at the end of the day there is a great love for each other.
The issue is, I moved away from Brisbane and for two years, dated someone who wasn’t her biggest fan. He didn’t ‘hate her’ as such, but never really had a lot of positive things to say about her, and so bringing her up in conversation and talking about how she had been, became less and less common because I didn’t want to constantly defend her against the guy I loved. It was just too time consuming and got me no where.
It has now been close to three years since I moved away from Brisbane. In those three years, understandably, both of us have changed quite a bit, however, for some reason, I have it stuck in my head that she was still the same person that I left in Brisbane. Let me tell you, there were things both of us did that were not very honourable or respectable and if held onto, could cause quite a lot of damage to our relationship.
Unfortunately, I have found myself lately critisizing her greatly, doubting her credibility and being downright pretty horrible to her. After trying to figure out what was causing all this angst, I discovered that I really didn’t know who she had become. The person I left behind was insecure, getting blind drunk almost every weekend, was quite negative and hadn’t been there for me when I needed it most.
I thought I had dealt with these feelings and issues long ago, but all of a sudden they all came swarming back to me and I really honestly felt so much anger for this person for what they had done in the past and let it consume me to the point that I felt this was still who they were today.
After talking to her about this, and expressing why I had been treating her the way I had, she basically told me that I need to figure out if I can ever truly forgive her and if we can ever be friends, the way we used to be, again.
When you’re a kid, I think a major reason why it’s easier to make friends is because the criteria is pretty low. I know when I was a kid it was basically,
(1) know all the lyrics to the songs in The Little Mermaid
(2) Be nice to me and tell me I am pretty
(3) Know how to plait or braid hair
(4) Believe in fairies
So that’s pretty easy to satisfy, right?
As an adult, the criteria becomes a lot stricter. I was thinking about the people in my life who I consider to be my closest friends, or even the people in my life who I have met and hope I will know until I die, and made a small list of what it takes for me to consider someone ‘worthy’.
(1) Admiration – I must admire the person for their strength, integrity and life direction
(2) Values – I found it very hard to remain friends with someone when, on more than one occasion, they potentially ruined happy relationships by sleeping with someone or even kissing someone who already had a girlfriend. If your values and morals are not the highest strung, or are pretty flawed, I’m going to find it very hard to see eye to eye with you.
(3) Attitude – I really REALLY struggle to get along with people who are consistently negative, who don’t believe in themselves or others and who really don’t care where the life ends up
(4)Respect – I need to be able to respect their choices, their opinions and vice versa. They also need to respect themselves and those around them. There is nothing that makes me turn off more from someone, than hearing them put down themselves or other people ALL THE TIME. If you haven’t got anything nice or at least constructive to say, then don’t say it (writing a blog is different though, right?).
(5) Willingness to Try New Things – although this is not as massively important as the above, I find routine pretty fucking boring sometimes, and like trying new places and activities. I can’t stand it when people consistently want to go to the same place they’ve gone for the past five years, eat the same food they eat every Friday night in and only listen to the same music they’ve ever listened to. You have to be willing to discover more about the world and what else is on offer, because you never know what you might discover or who you might discover.
(6) Nudity – ok, look… if you’re not going to show me your junk, then please cease to think we can be friends. No, seriously, I had an epiphany the other day, when getting a spray tan from one of my best friends since I was 13, that most of my closest friends have seen some part of my naked body. I am still not sure how I feel about this..
There are a few people who have entered my life who I will always hold close to my heart, because they have shown me these things and the importance of them to me. I may not see these people every week, month or even year, but when I do finally see them again, there is no bitterness, no untoward feelings of angst for not ‘being there’ and no explanations that need to be made. It’s just, ‘hi, it’s so nice to finally be with you again..’
There are other friends in my life, who I feel almost ‘bullied’ into being their friend. I constantly get asked what so and so is doing, and why wasn’t I invited to this or that and finding myself having to defend my life choices for actions that somehow in one way or another, they feel effect them or they feel they could have made a better decision in the same circumstances.
The truth is, any relationship that is worth having, should not be hard work. My father is a piece of work and there are times when I’d quite happily become an orphan if it meant I wouldn’t have to battle his constant nagging, negativity and laziness… However, friendships are meant to be fun. They are meant to bring you laughter, memories and make your world a bit of a better place.
So at what point do you accept that maybe, just maybe, your friendship has reached an expiry date? That you are not the person you used to be and neither are they… That you can’t remember the last time you actually felt comfortable and natural and like you could be yourself, free of judgement.. Do you actually vocalise these feelings or thoughts? or do you just let your friendship slide away with the grips of time?
I value everyone I have in my life, and sometimes it’s really hard to accept that things have changed and that friendships just are no where near the same as they used to be.
I want to try to make things work, discover this person all over again because who they are now, is clearly different to who I left behind – but at the same time, I’m just wondering if it is ever possible that we can ever get back to being as close as we used to be.
Perhaps the more realistic way to look at things is to accept that we might not have the same relationship we used to – but maybe, we can become NEW friends based on who we both are now, rather than what has happened in the past, who we were and how horrible both of us were to each other sometimes.
This person meant a lot to me. I know we had a lot of amazing times and masses of amazing memories. So if there is a chance that I can start a brand new friendship with the new version of them, and make a million more amazing memories, then I am willing to try.