If there’s one blog post that I’ve wanted to write for a long time it’s this one, but I’ve always been in two minds about it. I guess my biggest fear is that I don’t want this post to lead to me loosing the friends I do have by offending them, because that really isn’t my aim at all. So if you are reading this and would consider yourself one of my friends, this really isn’t aimed at you nor is it a dig. Promise. Instead it’s just a post in which I wanted to share my thoughts on friendship, making friends in adulthood and why I’ve found it pretty tricky.
Thinking back on my life as a whole, friends has probably been behind 80% of my tears and a subject I have always struggled with and I never really knew why. I was no Regina George, I wasn’t nasty or pushed people away, I never caused drama or stole anyone’s boyfriend, in fact until I was about 16 I was quite a mousy kind of girl. I was what I would describe as a vanilla friend, I was inoffensive, I went along with things, floated between groups and just was kind of there. I wasn’t the loud one, or the one interested in boys, or the funny one. I was just there. Yet I would always find myself upset or anxious over friends or lack thereof. And although I’ve developed much more of a backbone and become less vanilla, it’s still been something that has continues to cause me anxiety.
Out of curiosity the other day I was googling my horoscope (I’m a Capricorn by the way) to see what my star sign traits are and although I’m not sure how much I believe in all of it, a few character traits seemed to explain my friendship woes. Apparently a Capricorn is very loyal, therefore expects their friends to also be extremely loyal and has very high standards, and if wronged they are not exactly quick to forgive and move on. And although I’m sceptical, maybe I was destined to find friendships hard. I guess I do expect a lot from people, I feel because I am so loyal I expect it back and if a friend does upset me I do take it really hard. But then again, there must be a reason why I expect so much and why I’ve picked up the perception of a good ‘girlfriend’ and I think that’s TV, films and the rise of the Instagram ‘girl squad’.
Popular culture has always given me an idea of what friendship is and especially the friendship I should currently have in adulthood. TV and films make it seem like you should be in a group of maybe three friends, a group where you gossip over brunch, spend every weekend either going out or sitting on your sofa sipping Pinot, you share every little detail of your life with each other, you go on holiday together and walk arm in arm down the street. You have a group chat where you are constantly chatting and sharing little snippets of your day. You are the best of friends. You see each other everyday and have been friends since you met at uni or met in an obscure way on a night out. A friendship of memories and anecdotes, where one day they’ll obviously become your bridesmaids. Actual best friends for life. But yet I’m left wondering, where’s my squad?! Where’s my Pino Grigio drinking, arm linking, group chat best friends? I’m even left wondering if these even exist at all? I longed so much for a group of friends like Bridget Jones, you know what I mean? Now once again, I’m not saying I have no friends, I do, but more so as individuals. They are my friends yes, but do I have the friendship that is portrayed to me on TV? The one I believed would make up such a big part of my 20s? I don’t think so. Not yet anyway and has me feeling like I’m missing out on something I’m not even sure if real. Which brings me onto another reason why I’ve felt my friendship is inadequate and I’m lacking a girl squad… Social media.
Now I’m sure you are all aware if you read my blog that I have many issues with social media, but when I think back to where my mental health relating to social media was at its worse was when I’d left college, whilst all my friends were still at university. I’d gone from being around my class mates and feeling like I had friends, to working full time and being the only one of my friends still living in our small town. I guess until that point I’d not realised how much I struggled with being alone until I’d left education. Whilst I was working and struggling to fit in in a new job, it seemed like everyone I followed on social media was living their best lives. When I spent most Friday and Saturday night in bed it seemed like all my friends were out with their new friends and I was left forgotten about. I don’t blame my friends who went to uni, it would be unfair of me to expect them to check up on me all the time and not make new friends, but I guess I expected to come away from college with friends myself and they probably assumed I was doing exactly the same as them. What’s funny is that I don’t even enjoy going out, in fact I HATE it! But did that stop me from feeling so such FOMO that I would sob to my mum about it? Course not.
So left with no one to spend my weekends with, I decided to see if I could find myself friendship outside of education and in full blown adulthood. Spoiler, it’s difficult. I mean, I did find myself some great people, like I met my friend Naomi outside a job interview. Long story but we were awkwardly waiting outside of the company we were interviewing for, started talking and instead of being arch rivals we became friends. I didn’t get the job, Naomi did, but no hard feelings. Honest. And we are still friends to this day. But I decided that work may be a good place to find people who would want to be my friend, but for some reason little 19 year old me couldn’t find anyone. I tried, I really did. I invited people for lunch, I’d try and join in on jokes and Bake Off sweepstakes, I’d buy treats, put kisses at the end of emails etc etc, but yet I still spent most lunches sat alone in the park or in Pret trying to distract myself with Stylist magazine. Pretty tragic right? When I entered the workplace I didn’t feel too young to be there, in fact I felt much older than 19, but within a few months I started to question if my age was why I was being left out. Honestly I was so desperate for the ‘grown up’ friends I’d seen in films that I began to feel incredibly inadequate, or that everyone had such amazing friends outside of work why would they be interested in me? Some days it felt like the people in Leon, I brought porridge from most mornings, cared more about me than anyone else. Update: I’ve since moved jobs, and found my type of people. Don’t feel sorry for me… (Okay maybe a little bit.)
So before I go too much into more sad spiel, let me end this blog post. Have I got a girl squad? No. Is it clear to me who would be my bridesmaids at my wedding? Not fully. Am I still desperately searching for said ‘squad’? Kind of. Leaving school is a weird transition, and I think you start to really see who your true friends are and who is only your friend because you see them everyday. You see who maybe took advantage of your friendship and what you really want in a friend. Who wants a super active group chat anyway? I mean, that would be annoying. But in summary, friendship is tricky, especially as an adult. So if you are struggling with the concept of the girl squad, or the transition from friendship in education to friendship in adulthood, then you are very much not alone.
Until next time,