Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born. ~ Anais Nin
Relationships are hard yo. Like ridiculously hard. And no I am not talking about the romantic swept off your feet heart all aflutter relationships. Those can be hard too, but no I am talking about friendship relationships. Adult friendship to be exact. I always thought after being bullied in school, that high school friendships were the hardest and it would be smooth sailing as an adult.
Boy was I wrong! Some people do not leave high school, and perhaps because of social media, bullying STILL happens as I experienced a couple years ago. And that is without adding life into the mix. I get that people are busy. One hundred percent understand it. But the balancing act of friendship is so flipping hard and sometimes you feel like you are the one giving it all and it gets exhausting.
Being who I am, I tend to go through periods, especially at monumental changes and challenges, of reflection. And I have done A LOT of reflecting. In part because I have been dealing with a lot and I have realized the people who are there and more aptly those who AREN’T. As well as the ones who just take and take and take and then the ones who are there, but strings that are miles long are attached to them. Social Media adds another level of complication. We are more “connected” then ever before. But are we really?
Communication is important
I mentioned above some people do not leave high school. There are and always will be “Mean people,” which is just sad. Life is way to short to have friends or “frenemies” who will and do try to tear you down, and how you handled them in high school -sobbing into your pillow and blasting N*SYNC- might sound appealing, you can’t do that as an adult. I mean you could, but it wouldn’t be the responsible or “Adult” (Doesn’t adulting suck?) thing to do.
Communication is so incredibly important. We preach it for romantic relationships, but if we are an adult and are having interactions, we need to properly communicate, and that includes in friendships. Having conversations, good, bad, and the so-so, helps us grow and evolve. It helps our relationships evolve, sometimes for the better and sometimes it just means those relationships have run their course, and THAT is alright. I was raised that I didn’t need to be friends with everyone, (likewise not everyone is going to be my friend), but I did have to be nice to them, which is something I have applied into adulthood. It is okay to not jive with people and to grow apart. It is NOT alright to ghost them or do a half in half out scenario. If this was a romantic relationship, we would be calling them f*** boys who did that. Don’t do that to your friends!
Social Media Support and Balance
With communication comes the rise of technology where we might “Feel” connected, but we really aren’t because it is all curated, and half truths. It is a huge balancing act, that as humans I don’t think many of us have been able to master, yet. We are either attached to our phones 24/7 or shun it all together, craving that solitude, and trying hard to fight the pull our phones have over us. Trust me I am as guilty as this, as everyone is.
While it was designed to bring us together, make sharing our lives more accessible, and keep us all connected, it is just an illusion. Are we really so “Connected.” Yes we see peoples lives on social media, but do we REALLY know what they are going through? Do we really connect, and using a social media buzzword “Engage?” Or do we just scroll mindlessly? Further more, how often are you supporting your “real” friends or are you just liking Kim K’s pictures, in hopes to be seen and for engagement?
It is something I am trying to rationalize as someone who works in social media. For something that is suppose to keep us connected, when I see friends, people I consider amazing friends off the internet sphere, who like people they don’t know, yet give my content little to no support, it hurts. And it DOES make me question the friendships. I realize I am in a unique position because I work in social media, but I also have always tried (I am not perfect and have been known to go on liking sprees of friends accounts) to be super supportive of my friends and what they post, and when it is not reciprocated it brings up a whole host of feelings. Oh the feelings. Did I mention friendships are complicated? And social media makes it more so.
Finding that Connection and Courting
I understand that people are busy. I have tried to make allowances, as my best friend told me bluntly, recently, I make too many allowances for people. FYI THIS is why we are friends. Find someone who will TELL YOU, when they don’t like how someone else is treating you. Yes, people are busy, they have jobs, families, other friends. Making time for yourself is incredibly important, especially for mental health. BUT if someone is so focused on themselves, and just takes and takes and takes, without reciprocating, it goes beyond self-love and becomes being self absorbed. They don’t care about you, and they don’t really care about others. It is a fine balance of juggling self care yet still being a compassionate human being.
Further more, if you are having to do a highlight reel with friends every time you see them…they aren’t really friends. They are acquaintances. Friends should know what is going on in your life. It is something I have come to realize (and trying to come to terms) after having lunch with someone who, was once my best friend, yet could only fit me in on her terms, after I had done continuous reaching out to her. Apparently her nails were more important, than our friendship. And it was all a highlight reel. She had no idea what was going on in my life, (although she tried to act like she did due to what I had posted on social and no she doesn’t like anything I post) it made me incredibly sad and I was hurt.
But I also realized, I don’t care about highlight reel friendships. They are draining and toxic, and most of the time one sided. I want friendships that I can laugh and talk stupid sh*t with. Send random DM’s about Hallmark Christmas movies, or which Ryan is better. Ask if they had seen the latest on GameStop, or passionately discuss women’s rights in Afghanistan. Friends that know where I want to get engaged and have no problem dropping hints. Friends that are equally as passionate about me, value me, and COURT me as I do them.
Everyone deserves to have people like that in their lives. And ultimately THAT is self-love. When you value your own worth and know that you deserve to have only the best people in your life. Those who value you equally as much as you value them. Action is as important as communication is. It is okay to let go, (remember in an ADULT fashion) say good-bye, and move on. Even when it hurts. It doesn’t mean either of you or bad, just that this chapter(s) is over, and that YOU know you deserve to be courted. I am incredibly blessed to be surrounded by some truly amazing friends and all around incredible people, who let me know both with words and actions how important I am to them, and who have been a rock to me the last months. I hope everyone is as lucky as I am to have people like that in their life. Be courted! Love you friends <3
Do you have highlight reel friends? Do you cherish your friendships? What are your thoughts?