This week I have tackled a 5km muddy obstacle course with my four girlfriends (you can see the wonderful pics on this page). I’ve also been training hard with my Crossfit girls for my upcoming competition. So the importance of friendship and teamwork has been the focus of my week this week!
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 everyday. But as adults friendships are more complicated and much harder to maintain.
I can remember my parents talking to me about friendships after I had a falling out with a very close girlfriend as a teenager. They explained that the friendships over my life will inevitably change. I would go on to have work friends, young married friends, friends with with babies and onto friends who’s kids are at the same school as my own.
What tends happen is you end-up with a 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!
I have at this stage of my life made friends I know that I will keep forever, I’ve also met some wonderful people that I will always enjoy seeing, knowing that its ok that were not going to be best mates. And I’m comfortable that this will continue to be an evolutionary process over a lifetime.
However recently I noticed that I have a pattern of meeting new people and instantly giving them so much of myself. I had never noticed I was doing this.
I want all new friendships to work out, I put in allot in the beginning and I leave NO room for it not to work.
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 past year I have realised that this is MY FAULT not theirs. I allowed the friendship to begin with so much intensity that I left no room, it’s either a big success or a big failure.
This is not fair on them. I have to take responsibility for that. I need to leave space just in case it isn’t going to work out for whatever reason i.e personality differences, lifestyle differences, differences of opinions, children not getting along…….
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 should make us better people.
As I’m writing this, I am discussing it with my gorgeous hairdresser and we thought of another element. That a small percentage of everyone you meet will instantly dislike you!!
For no particular reason, they will have made a decision that you’re not someone they want to spend time with. And many of us will spend a considerable amount of time trying to change their minds! Why would we give this any time, thought or concern?
My theory is it comes from our childhood, living in that fishbowl called school, when were taught to be friends with everyone.
Does it matter that some people don’t like you?? NO it doesn’t!
Is being taught to be everyone’s friend in childhood unrealistic? Should we be explaining to kids that they are not going to be everyone’s “cup of tea”?
I think there’s room to teach children about the different types of friendships. If we take the time to teach kids that everyone in the playground is to be treated with respect, kindness, teach them to have empathy and always inclusive in play, they might have a stronger set of skills for adulthood.
Kids at school today are exposed to so much more than we were, they are counting their friends as numbers on social media. Their world is so much larger than the playground we grew up in. Is everyone in this large world a friend?
I am just getting comfortable with how I now make new friends as an adult.
I have such appreciation for the friends I share my life with. I know that true friendships aren’t hard, they add value to my life.
Not being friends with everyone is ok. Not everyone is going to like me when they first meet me.
I’m continually trying to be a better friend and I do have regrets about how I’ve handled past friendships. But I need to remember I did the best I could with what Iknew at the time. And I will do better in the future because I know better.