What does friendship mean to you?
Is it fake or ‘phoney’? Does it mean interacting in your home through a screen, digitally or in your home over a cuppa with an actual real-life (RL) person?
Nowadays, for me it means digital interaction. And you know what? I readily admit that.
Virtual or real-life?
First up, I’m a blogger and that brings with it an obsessive amount of interaction with other bloggers who turn into virtual friends (having not yet met them in RL, they remain virtual friends). I interact with these friends daily; liking, commenting, sharing wins and woes, offering advice, support and sometimes, just by ‘being there’. Isn’t that what a RL friendship is too?
Inevitably, I think, my friendship circle has changed over the years, particularly post-child. It’s natural that friendships change when you have children and families.
And employment has changed too. Again, friendships fell by the wayside and things change over time. Yet I’m friends with a lot of these RL people still. I’ve got their numbers and sometimes I do send a random text or (shock horror!) even call them! Yes, really!
I know there are a couple of RL friends who would drop anything and I for them.
To me, it doesn’t matter how you formed that friendship or how you interact. That doesn’t matter in friendship.
And what’s just as important is that as I’ve grown up, I’ve broken free from ‘bad’ friendships. The ones that give me a bad vibe, that almost give me a bad taste. I decided a while back that I didn’t want those ‘toxic’ friends in my life. So I just meandered away and lost contact. And I feel better for it.
Honesty not pretence
There will be some who don’t ‘get’ my vibe. And that’s okay. We’re all different. I don’t take offence. In fact, it’s a relief not to ‘have’ to pretend! Friendships are made from honesty, not pretence, after all.
I asked some other bloggers for their thoughts on friendship and here are their thoughts:
Jemma Wilson mayflowerblogs.com
I have recently walked away from a 7 year friendship. I hadn’t realised how toxic it was until I looked back and discussed things that had happened or been said with other friends and family.
I realised how much negativity that friend had brought to my life and how awful she made me feel. I have no room for negativity in my life now.
Cheryl Dodd mummyof5miracles.com
I’ve recently stopped a few ‘close’ friendships as they were all about me listening to them and their problems and when I really needed someone there was no-one there
Emma Chaplin ourfairytaleadventure.com
Over time I’ve grown and drifted apart from people, but I think that is just life. Now I’m a mum I have made a great group of mum friends who are incredibly supportive. I have made a few friends through blogging, but I’ve met all of them in person and meet up for dinner during the blogging conference season. I find it hard to class someone as a ‘friend’ if I haven’t actually met them in person.
Lauren Porter sophiesnursery.com
I think my favourite quote is “a friend loves you all the time” – we all have flaws & all go through bad times in our lives, its the ones that stick by you that are true friends.
Emma Reed emmareed.net
I’ve had to leave friendships behind because once someone betrays me that’s it for me. I find it hard to forget and my brain will torture me thinking they could hurt me again. Having said that I have just got back into contact with two friends from school who I had drifted from and it’s been so nice to be back around people I like and I know I can trust. I think with real friends it doesn’t matter how long it has been you can always just pick up where you left off and it comes naturally
Laura Light savingsforsavvymums.co.uk
I have more online friends than real ones. I speak to my online friends everyday, share what’s happening with them, even though I’ve never met them. I like my real friends (obviously) but I struggle to contact to people in real life. I find online a lot easier!!
Charlie Beswick ouralteredlife.com
As I’ve got older I’ve realised that the old saying ‘quality not quantity’ is true. When I was younger it was all about having a ‘group’ around me and feeling part of something but as I’ve got older and more self-assured, I’ve realised that I actually just need those few friends who have been with me through the good, bad and ugly. I have walked away from friendships that used and drained me but I’m grateful for them all as they just help you see the type of friends you want and more importantly, the kind of friend YOU want to be.
Jo Isherwood cupoftoast.co.uk
I can go hours or weeks between contact with my friends but when we are together or pick up the phone to talk it feels as though it has only ever been minutes. To me, that’s a sign of a true and long lasting relationship.
Sinead Latham sineadlatham.com
I’m not really a massive fan of people in general, but the friends I have are awesome. We don’t hang out all the time, but we are all ok with that.
I also have an awesome bunch of online ladies who have really helped me and my confidence as it took a bit of a beating when I first became a mum and I felt I couldn’t talk to anyone Face to face about it.
Samantha Rickelton northeastfamilyfun.co.uk
As I’ve grown older I’ve said goodbye to a few toxic friends. It feels sad at the time (and still does now) but really, these types of friendships don’t benefit anyone.
I’ve made lots of online friends through the year – it’s an easy way to make friends with like-minded people when you’re at home with the kids and can’t always get out. Many of my online friendships have transferred over to real life now and as well as chatting every day online, we regularly meet up
Lisa Valentine thatbritishbetty.com
Last year, aged 33, I walked away from a friendship that began in 1996. It was always critical and if I’m honest, simply convenient but we took different paths. I’m a little bohemian and she was very traditional. We had different views on politics, parenting and relationships. I stopped texting, arranging to meet for a monthly coffee and it naturally deteriorated. Not bitter or nasty, just outgrew each other. I have other friends who I don’t see for six months yet we catch up like we’ve never been apart. I think you change so much as you get older that your social circles also adapt.
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The Friendship Journey ~ a poem
Moving house with a child is no easy thing to do,
A new bedroom, new school and new friends too,
A time of stress, anxiety, a logistical nightmare,
Emotions are tender, how will they fare?
You get it all sorted, a school place is yours,
A settling in session, opening of new doors;
Metaphorically, literally, it’s a critical time,
Reassured by people, “she’ll be just fine…”
It’s exciting, it’s scary for her and for us,
We try to hide our unease with a ‘positive’ fuss,
Goodbyes are said to old school friends, her mates,
A new chapter is coming, new friendships await…
Then new names come up in our daily chat,
“So and so said this, so and so said that,
Soon can they come after school and for tea?
They can play with my toys, they can colour with me.”
Of course the answer is, “yes, yes and yes!”
As long as she’s happy I can cope with the mess!
It’s lovely to see, a relief beyond doubt,
To see our girl happy, see new friendships carved out.
What’s more, it’s so nice she doesn’t care one bit
If her friend’s from Eastern Europe or if they’re a Brit!
All she wants is to play, to share jokes, to have fun,
As far as she sees it, they’re like her, we’re all ‘one’…
By Carol Cameleon 2016
The story behind the poem: As our little girl is cementing new friendships after a house move and subsequent new school, it’s intriguing and refreshing that background really doesn’t matter, as long as she ‘clicks’ with them…
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