This year has been weird. And the whole idea of friendship has been weird too.
Many of us will say that we’ve had friendships change, for better and for worse.
We’ve tightened our circles. We’ve made new friends. (Isn’t the tinterweb amazing in fairness?)
We’ve been chatting to strangers online and some really fun connections have been made. Some of us have made an effort. Most of us have retreated into our own wee worlds and only let a few in. Maybe you’ve had zoom calls or been in Wattsapp chats or messenger groups. Maybe you’ve removed yourself from chats that you found to be zapping the life out of you.
The list of ways that we have been dealing with social interaction, or lack thereof, is infinite.
And we’re all different.
I’ve been through enough “friendships” in my lifetime to know that they don’t always last.
We’ve all had friends not reply to our calls or messages.
We’ve all had the message group that has stopped pinging.
We’ve all had the realisation that we’ve not been invited to something.
We’ve all had the friends who’ve unfollowed or deleted us.
We’ve all had the friend who took themselves out of the message group for some reason.
I’m sure every one of you reading this can empathise with some of this. Maybe you’ve reassessed who your friends are. Maybe you’ve been hurt. Maybe you’ve felt left out. Maybe you’re the friend who has cut ties with someone.
I saw a meme about friends last week announcing that “If they don’t check in on you, they’re not worth your time….” or something to that effect. So many people were commenting and agreeing…
In the past year, we have all been through so much.
Most of us have literally had to put all of our energy into keeping things going. Or “between the ditches” as one of my mates says.
And for most of us, our priorities changed.
We’ve all coped, (and not coped), differently.
And maybe the friend who “cut you out” or “didn’t bother about you”, just couldn’t. Maybe they just had a million other things happening and you weren’t a priority.
It may seem harsh, but the reality is that no one owes us anything.
No one is required to message or call or include us in anything.
Everyone has been fighting their own battles for the past year and yes, there may be relationships that will need effort to be rekindled and rejuvenated, that will eventually be OK again.
But maybe there are relationships that were intended to fizzle out.
So maybe, let them go?
Friendship is a two way thing. If there isn’t effort from both sides, it won’t work.
Everyone comes into our lives for a reason, and if they leave, they might have left memories. They might have left scars or hurt. But even those people teach us something, either about people, or about ourselves.
I care deeply about people I let into my life.
I try hard to make people feel valued and cared about.
But if I think for one second that I am upsetting or having a negative impact on someone’s life, I feel sad.
I don’t get annoyed if someone removes me from their circle or from social media. If what I say or post makes someone feel badly, then I’m pretty damn proud of them for hitting block. Or whatever button they press.
We all got caught up in the glamour of all of the friendships and social circles in the chaos of pre-covid life. And I think many of us blurred the lines a bit.
We called people we really didn’t know very well, “friends”.
We called acquaintances from events or different communities we were in, “friends”.
We have the added complication of social media where genuine and brilliant connections CAN and are formed. But until the person you’re connecting with has seen you at your best and at your worst, should we really call them “friends”?
We all define friends differently.
I have a very small and very tight little circle. I’m so very lucky. There are three ladies who have been in my life for many, many years. I have one or two buddies who I adore and who give me such joy in our conversations. I’ve always been open to making new friends, even as an adult. But I try not to confuse all of the different ‘types’ of friends.
True friends are like a favourite Bra; the ones we go to for comfort. The ones we don’t need to put on frills for. The ones who have been in your drawer for so long, it would be empty without them. They’re safe, comfy and supportive. And they might not be worn every single day, but they’re our go-to every time. And they don’t need matching knickers. They’re perfectly fabulous all on their own. These are your friends.
Yes it’s nice to have the fancy, frilly, sexy or sassy boobie-baskets in the drawer for different occasions or “events”, and they’re just as fabulous, but only worn the odd time. They are for certain outfits, or have certain functions, or make us feel a certain way. These are your acquaintances; you pals.
Then there is the bra that broke on you, or whose wire snapped and stabbed you in the ribs… or that left marks on because it really just didn’t fit properly. But you keep it in the drawer just to remind yourself not to wear it again and not to buy that particular brand again. These are your lessons learned.
So there. Friends are bras.
All different style and sizes; Some a good fit, some not so good. Some to be kept forever, some to be worn by someone else. Some to be admired and appreciated for their style and beauty, but some that really just weren’t your style.
And when we realise that not all bra CAN fit us, and that indeed we won’t always be the right fit for the bra, we can appreciate that sometimes, gently removing the bra, popping it in the recycle bag and wishing it all the better boobies in the world, is the only way forward.
Yes, there will be some people who have disappointed us or hurt us this past year, but actually, the only person who controls YOUR disappointment or hurt, is YOU.
And maybe we’ve been the “friend” doing the disappointing?
If you’ve felt ignored by someone, ring them. Say hi. Maybe they’re feeling the same way about you.
But remember that only person who owes you anything, is yourself. And if someone needs to remove you, that’s their right. None of us should wear an uncomfortable bra.
And none of us need to stay in “friendships” that really, really aren’t.