Friday, 6 November 2015

Friendships



Why is it harder to form close, deep friendships the older we get? When we are children, we met another kid at school, played for a couple of hours, went to their house for tea and hey presto, a best friend made.

These days, it’s harder than that. We can meet new people at work or at spin class or wherever, and don’t get me wrong, they are valued friendships, but the bonds seem to be more fragile, more on the surface. Or is it just me?

Disclaimer: This whole post may be unfair of me. I am lucky enough to have a very close friendship group back home, 20 years and going strong. I know that no matter what, they are always going to be in my life.  We have grown up together, been through break-ups, make-ups, parents divorces, coming-outs, deaths, marriages, births and everything in between. Half of us have moved hundreds of miles apart and we have stayed closed as ever. It’s hard to compete. (But I don’t think I’m comparing apples and oranges here. I do understand you can’t compare a 20-year friendship with a brand new bud you haven’t known for six months.)

Are we simply not spending enough time on our friendships anymore? At school, we spent 6 hours a day, 5 days a week with our best buds at school, and then some after. You knew all of your friends family members by name, all of their pets and can list the last 10 boys they’ve fancied. As a grown up, and in London especially, it’s usually a quick catch up over dinner and/or drinks once, maybe twice, a month, spent trying to remember what exactly is it their boyfriend does again? Maybe that is just the city. Everyone is busy with work and traveling and trying-to-make-the-most-of-life that friendships are lower down on the priority list.

I think now, it is also harder to let our guard down. There is pressure to have a perfect life, filled with Instagram worthy moments. I know that I certainly am guilty of comparing myself to my friends; they seem to all have a more active social life, or a better job or a bigger wardrobe. Those comparisons we make, that almost who-has-the-best-life competition, makes if harder to confide in our friends when we are having a low moment, or work troubles or about anything that isn’t perfect. This means we aren’t being completely honest with our friends. They don’t know the real, true proper us and we don’t know the real them. We are putting on an act, showing off our best bits and glossing over the rest, which leaves a gap. No wonder we are a lonely generation.

I think being in a relationship can hinder things as well. As a singleton, how many hours are spent gossiping about boys and bonding over de-crypting text messages and laughing over the latest sexcepades? Nothing is off limits; everything is shared and that brings closeness. When you are in a relationship certain things become private. I would never dream about gossiping about my boyfriend behind his back or sharing intimate details about our relationship. Even talking about my own personal worries or hopes with regards to our relationship feels like a sort of betrayal. I’m not at all suggesting that this is a bad thing, or that we should all go and dump our boyfriends in favor of a group of girls, but rather i’m pointing out that perhaps a part of growing up means that our relationships change. We spend our teen years confiding everything to friends and presenting to our parents the image of the good girl child they wish to see, but as we grow up and begin to look to form families of our own this kind of reverses.

What do you think? Am I being a negative nelly or is the change just a part of growing up?