I almost titled this ‘Ain’t nobody fuck*ing with my clique!’ (see song here for greater understanding, ps it's very sweary) but it’s come to my attention that I don’t have one.
I am a self inflicted loner who is very comfortable being alone, softly flirting with the outskirts of friendship but never, ever getting into anything long term. This habit has developed after years of having my heart broken. Now Shakespeare can fill your head with the idea that nothing is at torturous as the Love pulled between two lovers but honestly, my greatest pain has always been inflicted by ‘friends’.
Whilst pregnant with Esme, I made a promise to let that ship sail. A classic Pisces, I am ready to serve you, the guest of my life. Don’t like the temperature? Let me adjust that for you. Don’t like what I’ve prepared for dinner? Wait let me hit up Deliveroo. If at any point you’re uncomfortable, just let me know and I’ll fix everything. It’s been really hard working against my innate character of being a people pleaser. So deep is that curse, that I’ve avoided growing friendships all together. I take everything at face value and I’m firmly down for the one night stand version of breadrin-ness.
But two things happened this weekend which made me slightly pine for that deeper connection with someone other than my bank manager. Firstly, I locked eyes with a woman that ghosted me so differently, I’ve now given her the moniker, Casper. Upon inspection, I should've expected it. Her life as not been easy and never really having roots makes for an unstable tree but still, it hurt. I looked at her with the same emptiness she showed me, turned my head and got back to my life. But on my way home I thought, wow, you aren’t dead, you just don’t want to be my friend anymore. And I have to accept that.
The second thing, - not so much. My bestie is the definition of flake. Frosted, snow, 99p any kind of flake you can think of, they are it. But after almost three months of not hearing a whisper, I went on some mad manhunt yesterday only to be told that said person is fine. Ok. No extended explanation (the length of our friendship would expect one), no offers to pass on a message. Just a simple, closed ended explanation as to why I hadn’t heard from who I regard as my rib, in three months.
The old me rose up, pacing back and forth, going over every text and comment. No we parted ways after a party. I made sure they were home safe. Life was good. If I told you what has happened between then and now, we might as well change my name to Walt Disney, as I couldn’t tell ya. So here I am, jilted, bemused, angered at how once again, I’ve put way too much of myself into this.
As an old church girl, this verse comes to mind
'So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.'
See, I’m just not a lukewarm kinda gal. I’m either searing hot for you or I’m freezing. I don’t do lukewarm in any area of my life. So when that’s not reciprocated, I get a little annoyed. But I’m learning to not take the choices of others and carry them as my own. My friendship circle is so small it bares striking similarity to the punctuation which will round off this sentence. And that’s how I like it. This weekend, I stepped outside my comfort zone and went to chill with friends of a friend and it was wonderful because once again, I was softly flirting with the outskirts. Young people today always worry about ‘catching feelings’ (allowing themselves to care enough that they may actually be hurt) and whilst I usually rubbish that theory and encourage everyone to ‘feel deeply’, in this friendship ting, I have to agree.
I am learning that ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ does extend to friendships. As I get older and enter arenas where the headlining conversation are always bands like ‘mortgage, babies and pension plans’ friendships are shifting to suit whatever we have come to listen to that day. Everything is changing, all the time and how silly of me to think that I should be held in the same esteem as to whatever is happening in my friend (or ex’s) life. I am also old enough to highlight my own shortcomings. I don’t forgive easily. The line between loyalty and backstabbing is so thin for me, it’s no wonder people have tumbled over it so easily. Competitions are for the back pages of Grazia not for friendships. My list of requirements is so long, it’s a wonder I have friends at all. So I get I have things to work on. But with 30 around the corner, I have to admit that I am the Carrie Bradshaw of friendship-ville. I have no fuck*ing clue how these things work.
And just a brief scan of social media, shows that I’m not alone. Many of us spend so many hours on social as it takes the pain out of developing real, tangible relationships, out of the picture. We break bread on mutual ground, literally offering like for like but still feeling bemused when someone unfollows us whom we thought we were in a great insta-ship with. ‘Was it something i said in my stories?’, ‘Perhaps that last post just didn’t have the right filter on it?’ This weekend also opened the flood gates of a lot of insta-beef. Playground antics were displayed, with me wondering who next would need a super plus tampon and a slice of chocolate cake to get it all together. It’s telling that even in our curated lives, friendships, no matter how deep (revealing all in the DM’s) or vacuous (quick double taps before bed), are still the one thing we struggle to get right.
I am off to lick my wounds and commit myself to being a permanent outskirt flirter. See my heart is too fragile to deal with the ping-ping of adult friendships. I just about held it together when my year 4 best friend gave our friendship bracelet to someone else. I’m still not over that. So whilst I’m salty about many a thing, I find comfort and solace in the friendships I have now and remember that as saccharine as it sounds, the most important friendship you will ever have, is the one you have with yourself.