all aboard the friend ship

friend ship pop up card by Kristen of paperleaves

As a child I never found it particularly difficult to make friends:

"hey, do you like unicorns?"
"of course I like unicorns!"
"awesome, me too!"
"cool, let's be friends!"

It was pretty much as easy as that...

...that is, until "big school". In big school it wasn't 'the done thing' to walk up to someone and just start a conversation with them, even if you knew that you would totally get along. I can't even really remember how I made friends when I was that age - I was both quiet and energetic, both nerdy and boisterous, both nervous and adventurous - I guess on some days I would have been very approachable and on others completely distant.

As you get older, I guess it gets harder and harder to make friends - the free-spirited enthusiasm for pretty much everything that you have when you're little eventually fades and you start to worry about boring stuff like how people perceive you and whether or not the first impression you make is a good one. As a grown up, I have always found it quite daunting to be in a room with a bunch of people I don't know. Instead of easily making friends, like people always assume I can do, I tend to get uber defensive and shy away into a corner, avoiding new people at all costs.

When I moved to London I hardly knew anyone, so I was kinda forced to go out and meet people. I didn't want to be living in this vibrant city but not going out and doing fun stuff for lack of friends. No one wants to be alone in a big city like this, so off friend-hunting I went. It proved pretty easy in the end, once I had given myself a bit of a pep talk and decided to just go for it. In no time at all, I found that every week I was spending at least one night meeting up with friends, and I had quite a healthy social life for probably the first time in my life.

This new-found social-ability lasted for a few years. It felt good to have a lot of friends, and I have to admit I relished the attention and company of others. And yet it was also a very lonely time for me. I didn't really know what I wanted to accomplish in life, had never admitted to anyone my dreams of leaving full-time work and being an artist, and instead of having a support network compiled of people I deeply trusted, I felt I just had a lot of people around me who questioned what I did and expected too much of me, and I've realised I can't live up to those expectations.

I've spent a lot of time on my own recently, feeling as though I must hide myself away in the safety of my studio, fearing company other than that of my loyal meower. It's taken me some time to get out of this weird emotional state, and I have been gradually working up the courage to go out and see people, but I can't go back to how it used to be. I've been doing a lot of thinking. About the past, about the present, about the future and about my so-called friends.

Gossip Time by Michelle of myzoetrope

I wouldn't go so far as to say they are/were only acquaintances, but recent events have shown that perhaps they weren't really proper friends either. There are a lot of them, and together they form a very comfortable bubble away from the rest of the world, but I don't think that's what I need any more. I no longer need quantity - I need quality, and if that means only having a handful of them, then so be it. I would rather have a few very good friends who love me for who I am, know me and my weaknesses, support me and the decisions I make (even the bad ones), be there when I need them and don't expect more from me than I can deliver, than a bunch of people who don't understand me or offer support when I so desperately need it. I know that seems a lot to ask, but I'd like to think they realise that I would do the exact same, and more, for them.

Friends may come and go, that's just life, but true friends are damn hard to find, it turns out, so if you're fortunate to find one or two be sure to keep.hold.of.them. Let them know how much you love and appreciate them, and most of all - be there when they need you too. Sure, it's sometimes hard and time-consuming and everyone has "stuff" going on, but without those wonderful girlies in my life I know I would be a very sad and lonely girl indeed.

7 hellos:

Anonymous said...

A brave post. Self examination is important I think.

Claire said...

I'm blessed enough to count you as a friend, and I hope we continue to be friends. Looking forward to French toast and venting on Sunday.


Vixie said...

This was a really hard thing for me to get out of my head and write down, I guess it's something to do with making it permanent.

I know that I have changed masses in the last few months, I can feel it and I'm sure other people may have noticed. It's a bit sad when the process of self-evolution means moving away from people, socially, but I feel as though something needs to change in order for me to stay sane.

I hope you two know that you're keepers and that I respect, love and appreciate you and everything you do and have done for me. Sorry, that sounds a bit soppy, what I meant was - you guys rock!

PhilH said...

I know the feeling. Being that much further away, and having had some other priorities in Laura and acting classes lately, I haven't really seen much of you lot. I know lots and lots of people whom I want to see lots and lots and lots but I just can't divide myself up between them all.

Just a few weeks til I move in with my best lady and actually live in London again though, and seeing people should become a bit easier. (Including you. Yay!)

Can't imagine I'll ever be able (or want) to go back to being a bundle of energy going about and meeting lots and lots and lots of people though.

Vixie said...

Well that's partly it - there are so many people but nowhere near enough time to fully accommodate everyone. It sounds cruel, but I guess I'll just have to choose those few (or have them choose me).

I'm glad we were like we were in our Joinee heyday, but I'm getting too tired and sleepy for all that wildly energetic friend-making that we used to do!

Siobhan said...

Yes, what you said sums a lot of my thoughts up. Take care xx

Vixie said...

Looking forward to seeing you soon, Siobhan x

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