I really don’t have many friends.
I don’t make friends easily. I think it boils down to not wanting to put myself up for rejection, so I take a while to warm up to a friendship, I need to know that we are both in it 100% before I can launch into anything.
I wasn’t born in the UK (although my parents were born and raised here) so I had a big group of friends from high school that I hung out with a lot after I left school. I probably drifted slightly away from them in the mid 90’s when I hooked up with my various boyfriends, partly because I was being all grown up and ACTUALLY having a real relationship (not a pretend one) and partly because my friends knew what I only knew in hindsight, that my boyfriends were dicks. Anyway……I digress.
Leaving those friends behind to move to the UK was not difficult for me at all. I’m not even sure I said goodbye at the end, just moseyed off. Our friendship was born out of circumstance rather than any real closeness and I was off on an adventure with my boyfriend (Dick number 2).
I’ve been living in the UK for nearly 18 years now (Dick number 1 and 2 now long gone) and I don’t have any group of people who are my friends, that I can regularly hook up with. I have my husband’s friends (who we hung out with a lot pre children) and they are really nice and I’m sort of close to a couple of them, but if they shit hit the fan in our relationship I know they wouldn’t be there for me, because they aren’t MY friends.
I have a friend I house shared with when I first came here who now lives in Ireland who I barely stay in contact with and another I used to work with for several years who I was very close to, but lives a fair distance away now. Another friend, both me and my husband met at the same time at drama school, is more my friend than his and we are very close, but I don’t see her as often as I should and she literally has MILLIONS of friends.
So I’ve got 3 people who are my friends. They are littered all over Great Britain, they know each other from gatherings but aren’t friends themselves so we can’t all get together somewhere. I have to see them all separately (if I do at all).
So, who do I turn to in a crisis? Who do I phone when I can’t make my mind up about which dress is right or whether I should switch jobs or study full-time? No one. Nada. Zip! I don’t ring anyone because I don’t have a friend I’ve ever done that with. I’m thinking I’m a bit odd, so many people seem to have best friends or (BFF — bleurgh) and “the guys” “uni mates” “Bristol crew” and I’m barely scraping together enough people to have a meal with.
I’ve ruminated on this for some time. My husband has worried about it on my behalf (I’m sure he has a friend making machine in the shed, because he has thousands). In my darkest hour I’ve got concerned that I’d have no one to turn to if my marriage fails, no one to support me, dry my eyes and drag me through it.
The bottom line is that I can’t change anything. I can try to be more social with the ones I have (I’ve just started booking meals, visits etc..) and my daughter is about to start school so maybe (maybe) another mum and me might strike up a friendship and enjoy each others company. Who knows. I do know that I won’t push things to try to get friends. Slowly slowly gives everyone a chance to be sure it’s going to work out. Too many times we embark on these things only to discover the person in question is an idiot, narrow-minded, alcoholic or just plain annoying. There’s nothing worse than having to email someone to say you don’t want to see them anymore, because all of your subtle hints didn’t work and they won’t stop bloody calling. (I’m not proud of the fact but yes, I did do this once).
Well, I guess that’s hit the nail on the head huh? I’m pretty picky about my friendships. I won’t be friends with any old Tom, Dick and Harry. You have to have similar ideals to me, a sarcastic sense of humour, happy to talk about your embarrassing mishaps for the greater good of entertainment and enjoy a drink or two when the time is right. If you have kids, my children HAVE to feel comfortable in your children’s company. They don’t have to be the same age, but if you have a “weird” kid, my daughter is going to freak out about it and we’ll end up only seeing each other in the cloak of darkness. Probably not ideal in the long-term.
I’ll keep thinking about it and hope I pick up some more on my journey through life. I know I’m being a little awkward and whilst I think I’m a great friend I’m under no illusion that people have different views of you than you have of you, so I probably come across as aloof or unfriendly, when inside I’m screaming “be my friend, be my friend”.
So what do you find are the best qualities in your friendships? Do you accept them warts and all or as you as slow and picky as me?