Friend or ‘Friend’?

Friends may be one of the biggest tv shows in history charting the antics of six friends, but what about your friends and friendships? Are their friends in your life who are more like family? Our friendships mean we have someone to chat to, have fun with, support, share hobbies, share problems and momentous life occurrences.

Do you remember the name of your first friend, maybe it was your first best friend? Are you still friends with them now? Maybe, maybe not? Friendships come and go throughout life, some people are in your life for a long time, others can be there for a relatively short time. You may have friends from school or university you are still close too or people you have met through work or other activities. Are you someone who has a big group of friends or just a few close ones? Do you prefer to have acquaintances instead, someone you work with and talk with daily but wouldn’t socialise with outside working hours? We all have different types of friendships that suit us.

I have lots of fun with my friends, and try to catch up with them when I can, it can be difficult organising time to meet up as we are all busy with our own lives and live all over but we get there and try to do things often. Even if I only see a few of them a couple of times a year, in between the texts, we still pick up the same chat as before.

I am turning 40 soon and I have been reflecting on the friendships I currently have and the ones I used to have. We meet people constantly (online included) and sometimes friendships form because of the situations you are in – work, hobbies, uni, school etc. Our friendships serve a purpose as described above. If we take away what put us together, then the commonality is no longer there and we slowly drift apart, unless of course you are lucky to have a lot in common outside of this, then the friendship will continue.

At primary school we make and break friends regularly, that’s just the way it went, high school was a bit more cliquey and people tended to hang about together in small groups. When you leave school, people move away, go to uni, start jobs, and the drifting begins, it’s funny we think we’ll be friends with these people forever, but in reality, our lives grow up and out in so many ways, it can be difficult to stay in touch. Friendship is two way and if no one is putting in the effort or it becomes one sided then both sides move on and let go.

Facebook and other social media sites are great ways of keeping in touch, but are they? Are people on it for the wrong reasons? Comparing themselves to their fellow school mates? Is this type of friendship damaging our mental wellbeing? Why does it matter if Stacy has a better job than you, meets up with her old school friends, lives in a big house? It shouldn’t matter, before the internet age, people moved on and didn’t think twice about not seeing a classmate for the rest of their life!

We like to hang onto the past filled with good memories. But what if some of the people you are friends with on social media, were never really your friends but were bullies that picked on you and hurt you when they could. Then reached out to you to be ‘friends’ and you felt obliged to accept?

Now this hasn’t been my case, but I question Facebook a lot as I can see people who suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) if they don’t check it 80 times a day, to see what so and so is up to. But why? Many of these are not real friendships, these are connections, people from the past, that don’t know us now. They knew us as kids but not as proper grown ups. I am aware some of you will be saying, but these are my real friends and we do meet up and I know them. That’s great, I am happy for you and pleased that it has worked out. But let me ask everyone, if Facebook didn’t exist, who would be the friends you would actively keep in touch with? Do we need these connections to the past?

Enjoy the friendships you have, the ones you make and look back fondly on the ones you have had. Think about your friendships online, are they real or just a link to the past, do you feel obliged? Reflect on your own friendships and your ‘friendships’, how do they make you feel?

Have a great week and look after you! 😁

Love Emma xx

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