We all have friends that feel like family but family that we have chosen. The friends that you don’t speak to for weeks and months on end but you can just pick up the phone or meet for coffee and it feels like you’ve only see them yesterday.
The friends where you can put your face in their fridge as if it was your own (very important to me) and you can put the world to rights over a cup of tea. The friends who go out and buy Soya milk for your tea as your now ‘Vegan’, even though they think it’s the most ridiculous and entertaining dietary choice anyone could every make, they’ll buy it anyway, because its for you.
The friends who don’t put limitations on your endeavours and love you both for your strengths and weaknesses. The friends who know you inside out and can almost anticipate your ditzy comments or actions in advance of yourself and who you can sit in complete silence with and there’s zero awkwardness. The friends where if (and when) you fall flat on your face in life they pick you up, brush you down, wipe your tears and then proceed to take the piss out of you again. The friends where their homes feel like an extension of your own home, especially when it comes to their fridge and biscuit selection.
These friends come few and far between and we should make the effort to treasure and appreciate them. Some of them may be living next door and others the other side of the world but we live in a day and age where WhatsApp audio or a Skype cuppa is never out of the question.
It can be very easy to mistake acquaintances for friends. I remember when I moved to London I knew nobody. I was so desperate to make new friends that in my desperation I lowered my standards for what I would expect from them, giving a lot of my time and effort only for when the time came to be there for me, they fell very short of the mark.
Recently one of my best friends went through a really awful situation in their life where potentially everything they had worked for could come crashing down around them. Whenever this happens to us we go through a period where we can’t see how things will turn out OK, or even if we could, what exactly would ‘OK’ look like. These are the times where we need the people closest to us and in their case some didn’t pull through.
Real situations expose fake people. A lot can be learnt from these awful life situations but when the dust settles we can all reflect and see what we have gained from it. Realising who your friends ‘aren’t’ can be a blessing in disguise, even if you’d rather not have figured that out during that time. What these situations do show you is who your friends are! Who did you turn to call and they dropped things to show up to be there for you, or who didn’t you call but they just dropped things and showed up anyway because they cared.
I have a couple of friends who I truly admire for their ruthlessness with friendships. If you fail in their expectations as their friend you are cut out of their life with surgical precision. I mainly admire this as I am still their friend, so I must be doing something right. I am yet to master this skill, and doubt I will never be at their level of cut throat friendship criteria but there’s a lot that can be learnt from having them in our lives and in truth, they take a lot less friendship crap than I have.
Acquaintances have their place in life, especially in your work, networking and business life. Friendships may develop but you can’t work solely with your friends, it wouldn’t make for a very profitable business. Like with relationships we will also have transient friends. Friends that are very meaningful during a period of both your lives but your paths part, you make different life choices and you no longer have so much in common.
When I moved to London if I was just looking for solid friendships I would have been a very lonely girl but you need to understand what they are and what both of you are bringing to the table. I once heard a saying ‘meet people where they’re at’ and it really resonated with me. If you can understand what someone would do for you and then meet them there, then you are less likely to be disappointed. Sometimes you will give more to people and you should do this without expecting a return for your actions but if they clearly wouldn’t do the same for you then keep them for what they are.
You should always be open to new friendships but I feel its really important to know the difference between your espresso martini dancing friend at 03:00 AM and the one who’s going to sit and listen to you snotting into a tissue at 03:00 AM because life’s not gone your way that day.
Proximity is power, who we keep close can be a blessing or a curse. Keep the awesome friends close, because they enhance you to be even more awesome!
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