Thursday, 17 November 2011
Friendship and what it means to me.
3 blogs in one week steady on! Sign of a bit too much time on my hands to ponder on things I think.
This blog was inspired by 'A Thrifty Mrs' blog see here earlier this week. My first thought on reading it was 'wow you need to tell these people to fuck right off and find some real friends, because the behaviour you are describing is not the behaviour of what I would call a friend'. Having read the post through again and the many replies to it, on the whole I was thoroughly depressed by the knowledge that there are so many people out there who don’t seem to have any friends.
I agree that there is a case for blaming the internet. It scares me to think that there is a whole generation of kids who are apparently growing up lacking any kinds of social skills because they no longer interact on a physical person to person level. I see my nephew who is 17 with 534 ‘friends’ on Facebook, a vast majority of whom he has never, ever met or spoken to, and probably never ever will.
However the phrase ‘Facebook is Friendship Bullshit’ galls.
It doesn’t have to be, and certainly isn’t for me! but then I don’t accept any old request or friend suggestion willy nilly on my account. I also have my account on the highest security settings I can.
For me it is a fantastic way of keeping in touch with the friends and family that I have who live overseas. I can share news and photos, and it is a great way to chat if we happen to coordinate ourselves around time zones!
For information I have 128 friends on Facebook and yes there are a handful of those who would go if I were having a cull, but only a handful. The rest are there because they really are friends. They are people I care about and so I am interested in knowing what they are doing. There are the mates I go out to the pub with, there are the girlfriends I go shopping with, there are the old friends I go out for the day with, there are the people I only hook up with a couple of times a year. There are also the dear friends who I might not see from one year to the next, but who are close to my heart. The kind of people I can be myself with and know we can pick up right where we left off no matter how much time has gone by.
To digress for a moment, a lot of the replies to the above mentioned post were along the 'my husband is my best friend why do I need anyone else' line. personally I am cautious with the whole ‘my partner is my best friend’ thing. Yes Himself is the love of my life, and Yes he is the most important person in my life, but I don’t think of him as my best friend. That position is currently shared by Jenny and Soo, my oldest and dearest friends, who were both there long before him!
In the same way I know in his life that honour belongs to the two Pauls, again both of whom were solid in his life long before I came along!
I don't think it is healthy to devote your whole being to just one person and their happiness.
Now I am the first to point out that it has taken me all of my 43 years on this earth to get to this stage. I have had my fair share of frenemies, drama queens, emotional leeches and users over the years. Once upon a time I used to keep making the effort with these people, I'd keep bending over backwards for no return. I was worn down and miserable on far too many occasions. However I would say the qualities of my true friends, and the self belief and wisdom that comes with age got me to the point where enough was enough. I realised I was giving and giving for no return and being emotionally bled dry. So I made the conscious decision to cut these people out of my life and not look back. It was an incredibly freeing experience.
Ultimately I know there are many more wonderful people out there, and new friends to be made as I move on through life. People will leave my life but new ones will join it and I embrace that. I guess life has taught me thus far. That you have to be open to new experiences and go into them with an open heart.
On the flip side I will point firmly out, that there is a fine line between being open hearted and being a doormat!
You have to have open eyes as well as an open heart. When someone is not good for you, you should walk away, end of, no third/fourth/fifth chances.
Maybe as A Thrifty Mrs says for some people having no friends works. I just know for me it most definitely would not and my life would be a hollow, colourless thing without my friends.