When we were younger ‘Friendship’ was simply part of our everyday lives, you didn’t even have to think about it between school, after school activities, sleep-overs, parties…you were constantly surrounded by your peers and ‘best friends’. Yet when you leave school, find partners, focus on your careers, juggle family responsibilities (all the while trying to find time for yourself), making and maintaining friendships can become a huge challenge.
One of the biggest challenges I see in working with people on their relationship, is the pressure and hurt that comes with the concept of having LOTS of friends.
On Facebook you see countless images of people having these amazing experiences with big groups of people, and it appears they do this every single weekend. You watch movies like Sex in the City where women have a group of close friends who are always around, doing things together, every single day. And to top it all off you come across articles which highlight how going on girl trips and organising regular catch ups is great for your health.
This is disheartening for a lot of people, because in reality many of us don’t have lots of close friends, or our friends live in other parts of the world where we don’t see them much. As a result, people are comparing their friendships and beating themselves up if it doesn’t match what we’re made to believe is ‘right’.
Throughout my life I’ve had ebbs and flows of friends, some I have known since the beginning and we are still part of each other’s lives today, whereas others have been chapters that came to a natural end. Although I have great connections and relationships with a wide variety of people, I have three people in my life that I consider ‘close’ friends. When it comes to how often I catch up with my friends, there can be periods of time where I don’t see them for months. Initially I used to struggle with this thinking I wasn’t trying hard enough to make more friends, that I was a bad friend, or that I couldn’t manage my social life well enough, then I learnt that there isn’t a ‘right’ way when it comes to relationships, it’s about finding a way that suits you, the other person, and your lifestyle.
If you find you’ve been comparing your friendships to others, or beating yourself up around how many friends you have, stop and reflect on the following –
- What does true friendship mean for me?
- Who are the people in my life that I consider to be true friends, that I want to invest my time, energy, and love in? and…
- What does this look like for me, and how can I start to integrate this into my life and friendships moving forward?
Have a great week lovely people,
(P.s. How many of you can remember making these bracelets as a child for your friends? Thank you for a blast from the past, and for the great image, @modernparenting )