I tend to have wonderful epiphanies which subsequently spur me to make changes. One of my very first posts,I’m OK with Not Being Friends (October 2014) was inspired by one of these epiphanies.
The week I wrote that post, I had tackled a 5km muddy obstacle course with my four girlfriends and I had been training very hard with my girlfriend for a Crossfit competition. So the importance of friendship and teamwork had been the focus of my life. I had a strong urge to write about my friendships.
If I am being honest with myself and with you, I need to admit that I have issues with taking my own advice! I get all inspired to make changes and I start off strong, but find myself veering back onto the same old track.
When I wrote my “Friends” post back in October, I noticed I had a pattern of meeting new people and instantly giving them all of myself. I desperately wanted all new friendships to work, I put in so much of myself in the beginning and I left NO room for it NOT to work. This I can proudly say, I have stopped doing! Thankfully, it was probably the most damaging aspect of my approach to friendships.
However this week I have felt the need to re-read that post, the complexity of friendships in adulthood is something I crave to understand AND need to work on!!
This is what I re-read:
Growing up we are taught the importance of friendships. At school these friendships are easy for us to maintain because of the time we are forced to spend together every day. But as adults friendships are more complicated and much harder to maintain.
My insightful parents educated me on the complexity of friendships as a teenager, after I had a bad falling out with a very close girlfriend. They explained that the friendships over my life will inevitably change. I would go on to have work friends, young married friends, friends with babies, onto friends who’s kids are at the same school as mine…….and so on….
They taught me that over a lifetime you will have nice collection of people you can call your friends and the others you meet along the way will be nice acquaintances.
As a teenager this was hard to comprehend. At school your day was based around ALL your friends, it was a fish bowl experience. But I had a taste of how a friendship could change and it was an eye opening experience.
So far I have found my parents to be right!
Often we have friends who take so much from us emotionally and it’s not reciprocated. What do you do then?
What do you do when you have spent allot of time together, it starts to change and it’s not what it once was??
This was what I was asking myself this week, the same questions I was asking back in October! Time to take my own advice, here’s what else I wrote back in October:
Remembering that people change over time. Life changes our opinions, interests and relationships. It’s ok for people who were once friends, not to be any more. They will become really nice acquaintances. It’s not the end of the world, its ok!
The experiences of the friendships are what matter, good and bad. It’s all part of the fabric of life and if we learn from them, it will make us better people.
Since that post in October I now compose myself when I meet someone new, I take the time to develop the friendship. I manage to bottle my enthusiasm, let the relationship grow organically and get to know the person before I get matching tattoos with them! This is working brilliantly. No matching tattoos to speak of, yet.
So what do I need to work on?? It’s existing friendships. The ones that take so much from me emotionally and give nothing back. The friendships that are exhausting and a little frustrating. The friendships that leave you feeling flat and really give you nothing back. Also the friendships where you edit the real version of yourself to make the other person more comfortable, I do this a lot!
I need to be able to handle when a friendship changes. When it goes from a positive to negative. I need to move from friends to acquaintances. It’s alright not to be friends any more, it’s not the end of the world, and it’s ok!
I need to take my own advice and handle this aspect of my life for my own wellbeing. Not being able to be myself at my age is crazy and I know the positive friendships in my life allow me to be just that.
We have so little time to accomplish so many things, our friends should complement our life, not make it complicated.
Be happy, be yourself and enjoy everything!