Sunday, February 19, 2012

Friends

I have spent the past week questioning myself.  Questioning my friendships.  Wondering why I don't have friends.


It started after I attended an event for a good friend and watched all her friends swoon over her.  She had a tonne of people doing things for her.  The whole event was planned and organised by friends.  I was a little hurt that I wasn't included, as we are very close, and was even more hurt when she said that she didn't want to bother me as  "She thought I had enough on my plate".  


Right.  


Ok.


I am warning you all now...


Do not EVER use the fact that I have a large family as an excuse not to include me.  I am not an invalid.  My kids are not challanging.  I can, and more to the point, I WANT to help.  I want to be included.  I NEED to be included.  


Moving on...


A week later, I realise I have more friends than I thought, however, I have really started to think about each and every single person in my life, and wonder...


I have always had a hard time making and keeping friends.  In primary school, I was a bit of a loaner.  I remember back as early as year 4, not being in any particular cliquey group.  I was always the wandering friend.  I was friends with everyone and could just sit and have lunch with whomever... even the boys.  It wasn't until late highschool that I started to realise that no one else was like that. I see the cliquey groups are still tight now... 20 years after highschool has finished!


In year 11, I had a steady boyfriend whom I would spend all my spare time with.  If I wasn't sleeping or working, I was with him.  And we had loads of fun.  We were together for 3 years.  From the ages 16-18.


I started working in the family business at 18 years old and even then I didn't make real friends.  I would watch as all the other girls would organise regular dinner dates and I would never be invited.  I never really understood why. 


I then met Brett and the whirlwind romance began.  Brett and I spent a little time exploring the nightlife scene.  I did love going out to nightclubs and parties... but I guess I grew up faster than most, so I wasn't interested in that life for long.   We then started a family... an finding friends was even harder, as everyone my age, was still young and free.


These days Facebook and the works has changed the dynamic of a friend.   Anyone and everyone can be your "friend".  I think we are too quick to put people in the friend basket and why are we surprised when the "friendship" goes south?  


I did a "Facebook Friendship Audit" and even though it was all in good fun, I am not surprised by the results.  I mean seriously...I don't really think I have 171 friends.








I think that facebook has made it far to easy to catch up with people.  I mean, with the click of a few keys, you have had a conversation or even gone through some photos and caught up with months of someones life.  


Friendship is a sacred thing and facebook is ruining the value of a friendship.  


What happened to sitting down with a girlfriend while the kids run wild, us drinking coffee and talking about your deepest, darkest secrets.  How many of my "friends" really know me?  What makes me happy?  What makes me sad?  What my regrets are in life?  What my dreams are?


I have learnt 3 things in the past week.


1.  I am still the same girl as I was back in school.  I am still the wandering friend.  I am friends with a lot of the mums at school but I see the cliquey groups forming.  I am not in one. The main thing I have learn about this though, is that it is OK!


2.  I am not alone, but I am lonely.  I am craving some contact with the outside world.  I can go weeks with only seeing friends at school drop offs/pickups.  I need to get out more.  Reach out more.  Connect more.


3.  My husband and the love of my life... he is my Best Friend.








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23 comments:

  1. I know exactly what you mean ... well said!

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  2. I'm not in the cliquey groups either. I tend to mingle with many people and not 'belong' to any particular group - and my closest friends live ages away from me - so it is hard at times not to feel that loneliness. I had a similar epiphany a few months ago when I culled a lot of my facebook 'friends'. I only kept the ones I interact with or catch up with (in real life!) on a regular basis. In saying that, I too need to reach out more.

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  3. I think you and I are in the same place, if only friendships came naturally.

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  4. I understand exactly what you are saying. I met my husband when i was 15 years old, we never did the whole nightclub thing and spent all our spare time together. We grew up very quickly while those around us did not. It is hard not to feel the loneliness however being a full time working mum with a husband who has alternating early/late shifts i have trouble finding the spare time to work on it.

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  5. I've always found making friends hard. I decided at the beginning of this year that I need to try harder to get out and meet people. I also have 5 kids but mine are between 19yrs and 3 months. I go to a mothers group at the Child health nurse place but most of the mums are 1st time mums and 10yrs younger then me. I have one good friend but we live too far apart. I'd like one of those friends who can drop in whenever for coffee without having to call first,and who knows my kids really well.
    Maybe one day!

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  6. I think as we get older it is harder to make friends. We are far more judgmental of ourselves and therefor judgmental of others. We have less time when we have children and nights in with hubby become something sacred and cherished, we forget the need for friendships outside of the family we have created and nurture.

    I hate Facebook for friendships for many reasons. It is just as easy to make a friend on Facebook as it is to destroy one. Facebook makes it easier to communicate but harder to communicate your real feelings. It's easier to put on a "face".

    Friendships are hard, I didn't grow up here on the GC so I came here not knowing anyone. Creating and maintaining friendships has been hard because I am a hard friend. I expect too much from my friendships in the way of honesty and , I give a lot to my friends emotionally and I am still yet to find people who will do the same.

    I think it's harder to find friends when you already have a best friend in your husband. Like you my hubby is my best friend. I love spending any spare time I have with him and going to see friends always gets pushed down the list.

    Friendships are hard, being lonely is harder and making it all work seems impossible sometimes.

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  7. I understand totally but while you are been an excellent stay at home mumma to your family, i am a very guilty full time working mum that seems to be losing touch with my two gorgeous girls even though they are still both so young. I miss ME, the me that comes alive around good girlfriends, the ME that likes to socialise with girlfriends, The ME that likes to get a little drunk, laugh very loud and dance till my feet are crying. However since moving to Australia i am not sure where that ME has gone, because of work i don't have time to make friends, i am not there for school drop off or pick up so don't even know the parents. In England i had many friends who i could go get drunk with and 1 friend whom i could tell my deepest darkest secrets to but i am not sure she appreciated me as much as i did her as i no longer hear from her. I would love to also have some one to tell all my thoughts and feelings to, I also have a best friend in Andy (my husband) but some things need a girlie opinion, like does this dress look ok with theses shoes thats when my gorgeous husband fails me lol. I would love to sit for hours with a girlfriend and put the world to rights whilst the kids are causing mayhem lol and whilst drinking tea and eating cake. I find this difficult as the only time i have free is weekends and every one deserves to have their weekends exclusively to the families. ME does not socialise any more not even with my husband as we have no friends or family around.
    When we began the move here i knew it would be tough the packing of all our worldly goods and having to choose which were more important been limited to space, selling the home where we got married and started our married life together and where our children were born, starting fresh in a country that we did not know and sometimes understand, moving our children away from there friends and family, but what i have found most difficult is the lonliness i have felt not having friends.
    Thank you for allowing me to open a little of my heart on your page and for that you are MY friend.
    Kerry Dorley (Elisha's mum)

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  8. Reading that post was like reading my own life... but I fell into a sad and lonely marriage at just 22 (we had been together since I was 19), I had my first daughter and then couldn't do it anymore and left him after 8 years. I now have a wonderful husband I could not live without and I had another 2 children with him and I have two step kids from his first marriage ~ so 5 kids altogether ~ and I have the same problem friends telling me they didnt ask me because I have too much on my plate... :(

    I try to concentrate on family and the few close friends I have around me. I have an amazing mothers group whom I have been friends with for 7 years now, but since moving away from the area even that feels like its distant and hard to maintain. It is lonely... but I feel so blessed in so many other ways that I feel like I am lucky and I dont really have anything to complain about.

    But I feel as you do... so dont think you are alone x

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  9. I wonder this all the time. It was especially big at my SIL's baby shower. She's got loads of close girlfriends and works in child care with even more ladies who she is firm friends with. Plus the cousins and sisters and partners of my brothers friends, it was huge. At one stage I looked around and thought, now who the heck would even come to a baby shower for me. The cousin's sure. My sister, yeah. But I really don't have any friends that live here, and I doubt the friends I do have would travel the 2 to 10 hours to be here. I love people, I just don't have many friends.

    See how zen I'm trying to be about it when really I'd just love loads of girlfriends to call my own! Short version. I get this.

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  10. Reading your lastest blog had me tearing up as I thought about how similar our lives are and how I can totally relate to what you are saying. I too met my husband when I was young, just 17, married at 23 and had my first baby just 9 months later. While I was busy raising my child most of my friends were still out partying having not yet settled down. We moved to the Gold Coast 11 years ago and I left everything I knew in my whole life behind, including family and friends to start a new life for my family up here.I have lost many friends over the years but also gained some wonderful friendships as I move around the different circles in my life.

    I am guilty of not making time to catch up, guilty of cancelling coffee catch ups because my kids are sick and guilty of promising 'we must do it again soon' and then 12 months on realising I have not seen that person since. But my friends have also been guilty of not making an effort and assuming I am too busy with my kids to see them. I love having girly catch ups, coffees and lunches and absolutely crave the time to be able to share things with them about my life and my dreams. I can probably count quite easily on one hand the girlfriends who would willingly drop everything to come to my aid when I needed them.

    I feel very blessed and lucky to have met you Danielle and to have you a part of my life. I know we have not known each other for very long but I do consider you my friend and hope to share many fun times with you over the years, many coffee catch ups and loads of fun times with the kids. And if you ever need milk or teabags I am just a few steps across the road xx

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  11. I hear you too, I have lots of friendly acquaintances and only a few good friends. They are just far too busy and don't have young children like me so we are on different pages in life.. A few I thought were friends that i met online, then in real life, seemed seem to have dumped me now.I was always on the fringe of cliquey groups too at school, Uni and when working . Then we had our own business.
    Now we have moved and my boys started kinder , the tight cliquey groups are there and I hope I have found one friend who has a bit in common and is my age too. It is early days. Yes, i am not alone but lonely.

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  12. It is so wonderful that your hubby is your best friend. I too was a wandering friend but generally have always had one best friend my whole life (they've changed a couple of times). I am very lucky in that the close friends I have now are wonderful a driving our friendships. I can be a bit slack at staying in touch, particularly over the last few years but the people who love me accept that and are great at making sure I make time time for "us". I have to disgree on the FB thing - having not been in the "cliques" I've never bought into any of the bitchiness or undoing that can happen and its another great way for me to keep connected with the people in my life that truly matter. Not to mention all the wonderful new blogging friends I've made :)

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  13. I am the same. I have 0 girl friends. I have some wonderful online friends i see on occasion, but no super-girly-girl friends that I can call for a cuddle & to watch Sex and the City. I too had a boyfriend I spent every waking hour with from the age of 16, except I married him & stayed with him until I was 25, when he left me for someone he was cheating with- leaving me with nobody. The people that were there for me were those I least expected, 3 guys I knew as "work friends"- they were there for me & became my best friends. Then I met the boyfriend I was *meant* to have. Over this past year him & my guy friends have been incredible, & I couldn't ask for anything more, but it would be nice to have some lady friends now & again.

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  14. wow - its like you read my mind - been going through a tough friend time lately and was feeling down but reading that I am not alone in trying to not only find but keep good friends in this fast pace life we all have has inspired me to keep on trying. I hope you realise that though I may never have met you or that I may never meet you - you are inspiring to me and that is just how I like my friends to be :)

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  15. "I am not alone but I am lonely" I can so relate to that sentence. I wrote a post in January about why I hate my birthday. It's forgotten, ignored, whatever, yet through the year you often see people making a fuss for others. It's just the sense of worth that gets you down.
    I don't understand how life got so busy. But I totally know where you are coming from. I get it!

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    1. same here - had a huge meltdown at my bday last year :)

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  16. PS - I will see you, and say a big hello at the Digital Parents Conference. Not long now.

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  17. Totally hear what you are saying. Woah - I just did the fb audit and I got 1%. I was married to a guy I met when I left school. We travelled and moved interstate. Out of the blue we separated after 7 years of marriage. I met someone and moved way from the little town I had settled in to live in the City. I became a 'step mum' to an 18mth old and that was my full time 'job'. We've since had 2 more kiddos and Ive met some lovely girls through my community nurse but still none that I can pop into visit without calling first. My family all live interstate and life gets lonely a lot of the time x.

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  18. It is infuriating, when i get the, "Oh, (laugh) i think you've got your hands full enough."
    That is my decision! If i can't handle it, i wouldn't offer. My children are not manic ferals.
    I've never fit into a "Clique" i was always bullied by those girls at school.

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  19. Hi Danielle,
    I've been following your blog for a while now and I really appreciated this post. Thanks for being honest!

    I totally understand where you are coming from, I have four gorgeous kids of my own (18mths - 9yrs) and just recently my husband and I were not invited to my brother's wife's 30th birthday party. I totally understand that not all events are for kids, (even though this was at a bowling club at 4pm in the afternoon playing lawnbowls) but on questioning him we weren't invited as we hadn't attended some of their previous parties in years gone by, held in expensive, in his opinion "child friendly" restaurants. But faced sometimes with the large cost of babysitting as well as the cost of the night out, you just sometimes can't go, and its not for lack of desire either! But to be not invited to event when somebody else decides for you whether you want to/or can attend makes you feel pretty excluded.

    I totally agree with the need to be included, irrespective of whether people think you are too busy or have enough to do...much of our everyday includes the mundane and its really nice to break that!

    I too have struggled over the years with the "friends" factor. Seemingly I have loads of school mums/playgroup friends/other friends that I can catch up with, but good solid friendships for those that are going to be really interested beyond the first 10 minutes is what I really miss sometimes.

    I am about to cancel my facebook, I agree so much as well. The thing I dislike the most is that you may make reference to something that you got up to, or did with your family and the person says as you are telling them "yeah I saw that on fb"....how shallow, that I allow myself to be boxed up in a social networking program. I think that removing myself from the goldfish world of social networking, the times I do then spend with people will be far more rewarding and interesting.

    Thanks for updating your blog and giving me valued dialogue to read for the 5 minutes I steal with my coffee in the morning. I really love it, as well as how you depict life to five little kids and how it really is the BEST thing in the world, keep it coming!!

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  20. Hi Danielle
    Read your post. Had a lot of "head nodding" at the monitor. Crafted a great response (in my head, it's always in my head). Came here and read everyone else's comments - and agree with it all.
    You are not alone. I also am lonely but for different reasons (aren't they all different?!) and the minute I force myself out of the house - BANG - GUILT!!!
    I have a love/hate relationship with FB, just like everything and everyone else in my life LOL.
    Thanks for opening up. Love your guts and honesty.
    xx

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  21. I can also relate.
    I have one friend in Melb who i chat to on the phone many times a week:)

    I have i friend who i have been friends with for over 20 years and while we don't talk much i know in an emergency ( as she has done before) has dropped everything to help me out.

    Then i have 3 friends who we can pick up where we left off at years ago.

    Then i have many aquaintances i may call friends but we aren't close.

    I also have 3 sisters. Who i don't tell anything too, i don't need my life blabbed around the place. And i refuse to ask any sister about the other and wont let them tell me things about each other.

    I expect when i tell someone something in confidence it needs to stay there. I NEVER pass on information about somebody else or share secrets, i think it is deceitful, like one of your other posters, i am a very hard friend.....

    I was never in a clique at school, i was the chick that went to the library to read at lunchtimes. My hubby is my best friend as i am his. We like it like that and while sometimes i miss the spontenaity (sp) of catching up with people i do much prefer my own company and my family :)

    Thankyou for the chance to chat.

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  22. I LOVE this post! I sometimes feel the same. My best friend reminded me (after an issue with another friend) that it is better to have 1 GOOD friend that lots of other so called 'friends'
    Its about quality and not quantity.
    My husband is also my best friend and has seen me at my worst and my best so cherish your friendship with your husband. :)

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I am a Mama of Five. A wife to one. I believe in documenting life using stories. I love telling you mine and would love to hear yours.

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