Earlier this month I celebrated my 29th birthday. I received lots of birthday cards, messages and well wishes from so many of my wonderful friends. As I get older, (I know 29 isn’t very old but bare with me) I’m learning a lot about myself and how much I value friendship. I’m also learning that not every friendship will last forever and I guess that’s okay.
When you’re young, I’m talking about high school age, friendships can be fickle. You’re segregated into groups, the ‘sporty’ ones, the ‘cool’ kids, the ‘geeks’ and let’s be honest, high school is pretty brutal! As we grow up and attempt adulthood, we leave those labels behind but somehow we inherit new ones. I’m a ‘Mum’, a ‘Personal Trainer’, a ‘blogger’ so of course I have lots of ‘Mum friends, fit mates and also online friends. That might sound weird but, I honestly have genuine friends in my life now that I would never have met if it wasn’t for the internet. I also have some incredible old friends from my dance college days, work friends, acquaintances and so on.
Thankfully, I have some friends that I’ve known for over 10 years (maybe 29 is kinda old!) and some friends that I’ve only known for a few months. You know what it’s like when you meet someone that you instantly get along with, you can talk about anything and you feel familiar and comfortable. It doesn’t really matter how/why/when you met, but you know that they’re going to become a great friend.
Throughout my twenties I also noticed that some people aren’t really going to stay in your life, if and when your life changes. Maybe you don’t have very much in common and the only thing that you used to share is now gone. I got married when I was twenty two and then became a Mum a year later. All of my girlfriends were incredibly supportive but I have a very different bond with my ‘Mummy mates’ as they know the reality of Mumhood and they know the shit that goes down! Literally! Why is it that once you have a baby, everything becomes about poo. Nappy rash, potty training, tummy bugs …. Okay I’ve lost the point and I was taking about friends. Essentially, some friends share a season in your life that you will never forget.
I guess friendship is just like every other relationship, some are simple, some are more complicated and some should have ended along time ago. Some friends stay in our lives because of circumstances or a feeling of obligation. So, how do you know when it’s time to break up with a friend? Don’t get me wrong I’m not suggesting that you have to agree on everything and never fall out, but essentially your friends should love and support you, make time to see you, be compassionate to your problems, no matter how big or small and most of all they should encourage you to be yourself! We all know that girl that thinks it’s okay to be ‘honest’ after a glass or two of wine. FYI being honest is not the same as being mean! Don’t be that girl. In most situations I like to give my friends the benefit of the doubt and I hope that they would do the same for me, but sometimes things change, people change and maybe you just need to let that person go.
It’s not you, it’s me . . .
Maybe it’s you that has changed. I know that I have changed a lot over the last ten years and I’m glad about it. I don’t want to stay the same. I want to learn more, see more, try new things and hopefully change for the better. Before I became a mum, I was a very impatient person. As soon as I got an idea or a project, I wanted to do it immediately. Being a parent forces you to become more patient. Have you ever watched a three year old attempt to get themselves dressed, when you’re running late for nursery and they refuse to let you help! (*Deep breathes!) I’ve also become more fearful too. Before I had my son Jude, I had a naively optimistic outlook on life. I am still an eternal optimist but I now see danger and possible death traps at every children’s playground. I think it’s normal to get more fearful as you get older but my motto right now is … ‘Feel the fear, do it anyway!’. Lots of other things have changed too. My lifestyle, my interests, my schedule and my priorities. I don’t expect my friends to share all of my passions, ambitions or dreams, but I hope that they will always support them. I’m lucky to have a tribe of strong women in my life that not only encourage me but also inspire me! These friends are keepers, they are good eggs! Unfortunately, I, like every woman that I know, have also experienced a few crappy friends too. The ones that constantly let you down or they are only around when they needs something from you.
It’s sad when women feel as though they are competing with other women. Your friends success or happiness should not hinder your own. When my oldest friend revealed to me that she was pregnant two years ago, I was genuinely happy for her and I shared her excitement as thought it were my own. I would love to be pregnant again but that moment was not about me, it was about her. I know it’s not always easy or simple but if you love your friend then you will only ever be happy to see them succeed in life.
So I guess if there is someone in your life that doesn’t support you, understand who you are or someone that doesn’t stand by your side, maybe you should consider ending that friendship. Talk to them and be totally honest about how you feel. It’s quite liberating to know that you really don’t have to stay friends with someone, you’re an adult and no longer a part of that hideous social minefield known as ‘Year 10’. Surround yourself with people that you love! Friends that make you smile, friends that you can talk to for hours on the phone and most importantly friends that really care about you.
You never know what is just around the corner in life. The fickle friends may not be there but the real ones certainly will. I am so grateful to all of my great mates. If we’ve made it this far then you’re stuck with me!