Real Friends, How Many Of Us?

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Throughout my teenage years, the change of friendships have taught me the most about myself and which types of people I do and don't get on with. Making new friends, falling out with people, and outgrowing friendships are all a part of maturing and developing as a person. 

Up until my third year of secondary school I hadn't really felt like I was in a proper friendship group with people I was 100% comfortable with and trusting in. I didn't have many friends in primary school and didn't really fit with one particular clique. I floated between different people and never really knew my place in a secure group. For a while I found it difficult but starting secondary school completely changed things. 

 My secondary school split year groups into 8 forms (classes) so there were about 200 people in a year and about 25 in a form. Obviously, going from 30 people in a year group to 200 was quite the transition. Although slightly daunting, for someone like me it was exciting and refreshing to have an opportunity to make new friends. I quickly realised that I wasn't the only one eager to break away from primary school cliques and met new people in similar situations to myself.

Over the years my friendships have naturally chopped and changed. I've always thought of change as a bad thing because I'm someone who finds 'new' quite intimidating but recently I've recognised that change is actually a significant part of growing up. The breakdown of friendships is often blamed on people changing but that's not necessarily a terrible thing. People drift apart and that's perfectly normal. 

As I've changed I've learnt that (as much as I dislike it) confrontation is a necessary evil. It's completely acceptable to stand your ground and stick up for yourself when you feel betrayed or hurt by someone. When I was younger, my parents always drilled it into us that we should be respectful but to always stick up for yourself when you need to. I used to find that really hard to wrap my head around because I was under the impression that sticking up for myself meant being mean or defensive but it's definitely not. In the past I would've tolerated bullshit and easily rolled over at the first sign of an apology from someone but with experience has come a backbone. 

For me trust is a HUGE part of friendship. It's a quality that I treasure most and look for in people. It's paramount in any friendship but for me if I can't trust someone I can't get close to them. More importantly, if trust is broken it's impossible for a friendship to be repaired enough to go back to normal. Which begs the question, in Kanye's famous words, real friends how many of us?

Losing people who you thought were true friends can be really tough but sometimes you realise that it's the best thing further down the line. Whether you fall out with someone or just naturally drift apart you're left feeling pretty crappy and quite lonely. That will all end though because there are always other people out there to start new friendships with. Something I do wayyy too much is overthink things. I'll often wonder "is it me? Am I the problem?" when friendships end but sometimes you just have to accept that it's normal for people to outgrow each other. Your sense of humour can change, you may lose interest in things so have less in common, or some experiences in life can alter your outlook on things. Whatever it may be, know that it's okay for people to grow and change in friendships and letting go of people who make you unhappy is reasonable. It's by no means selfish, just being kind to yourself.

I'm not entirely sure if all of that made sense and I've definitely rambled on for too long. Has anyone else been through something similar?

Liv x

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