I’ll be there for you: What friendship looks like to me

Friendship isn’t about who you’ve known the longest. It’s about who walked into your life, said “I’m here for you” and proved it.

While listening to the Shameless podcast, the girls were discussing performative friendship on social media. And it was only last weekend, when it was another friends birthday, I thought to myself ‘do I really need to post another photo?‘ It’s not that I don’t like that friend or that I didn’t have any nice photos together. It was that I felt an overwhelming duty to do so. And as I’m describing this, I’m sure you know the exact social phenomenon I’m referring to. It’s your friends birthday so you post an old picture of the two of you on your stories, or if you really love them, on your feed. Or, going one step further, making a collage of photos and posting on their Facebook timeline. Wow. And whilst I’ve enjoyed doing this for friends over the past few years, I can’t help but think… why? Apart from a few seconds of humour, embarrassment or entertainment, it disappears in 24 hours. Which got me thinking… what does friendship look like to me?

This inspired me to reflect. And I thought about what I value in friendship and what friendship means to me, how it has shaped me and if I’m a good friend at all! Interestingly enough, I feel that my values around friendship (and I guess in life more generally) begins with my star sign (yep, basic bitch right here, but hear me out). I’m a cancer and strongly identify with being a cancer. Emotional, creative, an extroverted-introvert, I wear my heart of my sleeve, I’m an empath, sensitive, sometimes unpredictable, but if we form a connection and relationship, I’ll fight for it to the death. These attitudes transfer to my friendships, I believe I can make friends with nearly anyone, and that no matter what others think, I will always know the true value of our friendship.

High School: BFFL

When you’re at high school, you think your friends are friends for life. They’re your crew and you ain’t ever leaving their side. Until you do, and you grow, and you meet new people, and you make new friends, and you realise that some of your high school friends no longer serve you in the way it used to. The friendships that last, and surprise you in ways you could have never expected, are the ones that will grow and continue to serve you in the best way possible. The others will drift off, usually without you even knowing.

University: Soulmate

Then you get to uni, you make a whole new family of friends and you think these friends are ‘the ones.’ As a friendship group, you go through so much together, and get a real taste of adulthood. You ‘love’ your friends, you can’t imagine your life without them and that your crew that goes out to sing karaoke and heads to the beach for a hungover swim will be like this forever. And just when you think you’ve found your crew for life, you graduate, people continue to grow, they move away, you grow apart and you figure out, again, that friendship is an ever changing force that will continue to challenge and support you.

Professional: Still figuring it out

And then you adjust to full time work. Your friendship circles become a little smaller, and it becomes a little easier to spend a night in, than heading out. And I am completely guilty of this. I need a lot of ‘me’ time and down time to reset. Adjusting to full time work is pretty exhausting, and that’s why I find myself bolting straight to my room after work and throwing myself on the bed to stare at the ceiling for 30 minutes. It’s my little after work routine and I seriously love it.

Nomadic, true friendships

When I think about my best friends, the people I would have at my wedding, fly across the world to be with if they asked for my help, give my left arm to, they’re the people that I don’t see or speak to everyday. And I think it’s because loyalty is something that doesn’t require constant maintenance. It’s like the Great Wall of China, built on a solid foundation and it will stand the test of times. I think these deep feelings of loyalty and friendship began when I was quite young.

Growing up, my family and I moved several times around Australia. Moving schools, saying goodbye to old friends and working up the courage to make some new ones. Back then, I’d write long letters to my old school friends about my gross new school uniform, what the popular girls looked like and how the snacks at the canteen compared (serious stuff). So over time, I became accustomed to my friends not always being physically close, but knowing that at any time, I could send them a letter with a life update and I’d get one in return about the boy they liked or how annoying their little sister was. I knew they were always there for me, as I was for them.

Adulting: Relationships that serve one another

Fast forward to my adult life, I enjoy moving, meeting new people, trying new things and making new memories. I know that not everyone will be around forever and that friendships change. And for me, the most successful friendships I have, are the ones that are a little like that beautiful little cactus on my window sill. It doesn’t take much to keep a strong friendship alive, because it’s tough af. Unlike the needy succulents sitting next to it that often require a lot of love, attention, water (but not too much. Those suckers are temperamental). Sure, those friendships can serve a purpose and help me grow, but at the end of the day, they’re not going to flourish on their own.

I like to think about life in retrospect. So, when I’m 30 what do I hoped to have achieve? And when I’m 60? On my deathbed? The thing that is reoccurring throughout all of these milestones, is that I want to be surrounded by positive, exciting, challenging, genuine and brave people. And for me, I want there to be as many people in this group as possible. People who bring out the absolute best in me, and in return, hopefully I can help them become the best version of themselves. I don’t believe there’s such thing as too many friends. There’s such thing as too many succulents that’s for sure.But the end of the day, I just want a few soulmates, far and wide, who will catch me when I fall and give me boost forward when I’m heading towards the stars. Oh and to share a cocktail or coffee with every so often.

Thankyou to the people who make me ‘me.’ I love you.

Au Revoir, Adios, Ciao, Arrivederci, Sayōnara…

Goodbyes are never easy. Everything about that horrible little word suggests the end, a heart sinking finality that we can never quite bring ourselves to accept. I’ve had my fair share of goodbyes. Travelling around the world, moving houses, new experiences, each brings with it the excitement of meeting incredible new people. Some people pass through your life, others might remain friends for a lifetime. Regardless of who it is, time and distance urge you to say goodbye to those special people you meet along the way, just in case it really is final.

Personally, goodbyes are just too hard. Instead, I opt for a much more promising, naively optimistic ‘see you later.’ Sometimes I genuinely mean, ‘see you later.’ Even if you’re from the other side of the planet, you just never know where you’ll end up in life, and if I find myself in a city in Sweden, or Italy, or America, it’s reassuring to know that there’s someone very special that’s reserved a spot for me on their lounge.

Maybe I’m just trying to trick my tear ducts into thinking that there will be a next time (though I usually cry anyway), maybe I know within my heart that I will see them again somewhere and someday, or maybe I just know that I’m not quite ready to say a final goodbye yet. A little piece of them and me, that I try to hold on to with every wave, every text and every email, that little piece of love and friendship that I want to hold onto forever.

A Bit of Wisdom from Winnie the Pooh - http://theologigal.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/how-lucky-i-am-to-have-something-that-makes-saying-goodbye-so-hard-winnie-the-pooh.jpg
A Bit of Wisdom from Winnie the Pooh
http://theologigal.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/how-lucky-i-am-to-have-something-that-makes-saying-goodbye-so-hard-winnie-the-pooh.jpg