Bowery Mural


Sunday, 29 May 2011

There's no denying, i ain't no social butterfly. You won't find me trawling bars or being the centre of attention at anything. One of the only time i can remember I was the centre of attention (when I had a surprise leaving do at work before going to Nepal) i actually burst into tears. True. So for me making new friends is not easy. Nor it seems, is keeping old friends. Back in school I managed to find a good solid group of friends. We did lots together, mostly going to under 18's discos, going for long walks on a Friday night and ice skating on a Saturday and Sunday night. But as you turn 18 things change. People start to go out and i did for a while. But not being a drinker and only being 18 (and still at high school) I found hanging out in bars a bit intimidating. I would pass on some invites. Then you meet a boy and your friends start to drift off and still go out and the invites get few and far between until they eventually stop. And before you know it, it's been seven years, you've split with the idiot boy and you have no friends. Yes, no friends that you hang out with. No friends to share your pain and anger at yourself. No friends to tell you you're strong and will pull through.

Time moves on and you start to sort your self esteem out. You come out from a two year hibernation period, get a new job and meet a new friend. Someone you can share a few things with and she invites you out for nights out. But again the being a non-drinker you find yourself in awkward situations. Situations you don't really like when you're low in confidence and have been out of touch socially for a good few years. This friend is great though. She brings you out of your shell, gives you a smidgen of confidence, says it'll be a good idea to get highlights in your hair and all this in your mid to late 20's.

But time moves on again and so do you, to a new job. By now you've gained a little bit of confidence. Even the 150 or so rejection letters you keep filed in a box file has not dented it too much. You're battery is sitting at about 45%. In this new job you feel like you've found what you've been looking for. You soon learn the ropes in no time at all and you get promoted.

You're still not going on nights out, nor have you been invited anywhere for a long long time. So socially you're no further forward than when you began. You so want to be out there. But you can't go yourself. You have no way of getting in touch with your old school friends whom you miss. You miss so much. You recall with a sepia fondness all your little in jokes and laughs and sadness and you ache. Then one day you get back in touch. I can't remember how this happened. It's been nearly ten years. You're all older and wiser and some have kids and some have not. But you're glad to be in their company again. Because of what you've been through you're never going to be that confident in a well established group because now they all have their in jokes and laughs and you try to join in but it'll take time. What a relief though. Friends, some.

So time passes by and you're now approaching 30. You spend your thirtieth birthday at home with your family and kids running about your living room. Not what you dreamt of back in the day but not horrific. At least these are people who love you and probably if they're honest, pity you. Darn. You should be in the prime of your life. You're not feeling that at all. And you feel ashamed. Ashamed that you can't even make new friends, or blag a night out.

You decide enough is enough and start a blog. You're thirty and you're going to do something with your life before it's all over and you've achieved nothing. You decide on a trek to Everest base camp, plan, fund raise and have good times doing that with the never ending help from a work friend. We have fun making Christmas cards to sell, baking cakes to sell, it's all good but still you've hardly had a night out or an invite and you couldn't possibly invite yourself along with people. It's not your style. Gradually people start to comment on your blog and you make virtual friends. (virtual friends?). You meet up with a couple and they're great but have their own lives to lead but you're thankful and grateful and happy you've found some people who share interests and who don't just want to go out drinking all the time. You mostly climb hills with them. Good practice for trekking!

Then you find Twitter and you make more virtual friends. And you're invited to a tweet up. For charity. You think to yourself that you can't be that ghastly if you've gotten this invite. Wahey! It's a bit awkward at first because this is your first social outing in about two years (that isn't a work do). When you come home you judge it a success as the people were lovely. Then there are more tweet ups and you go along and meet more new people. You're not doing too bad now Ange, you reassure yourself. These people are OK. But then it starts to go pear shaped. You question what price they have put on your friendship because it seems to have dried up and you decide that no longer will you be used. You will not be used to RT links, you will not be used for votes in competitions, no sirree. No way!! You realise you were naive, but you like to see the best in people. Perhaps it was your lack of awareness of the bigger picture, after all you're not as socially savvy as some of these networkers. You genuinely thought it was a tweet up and not a place to go hawking your wares like a market trader. But that's fine so you decide that scene isn't for you.

But you do meet lovely virtual people and distance doesn't seem to mean anything since you're invited to a party. You love it. They're a good bunch in real life and you kick yourself that they are so far away as you'd like nothing more than to meet for coffee's, go to the cinema or chit chat over fish finger sandwiches with the telly on in the background. You find friends from other continents and you share some laughs (isn't the internets amazing!).

Back in your own back yard (not literally), you get some tweets to say let's meet up. Coffee, cinema, whatever but it never happens. You wonder why? and you're a bit confused. I mean you'd never ask someone to meet you with no intention of ever meeting them. You know that people have their own lives going on but my word is my bond on most things. And my friendship, well that's priceless and if you've got it then you'll most likely have it for life, unless you do me wrong. Then it's lost forever I'm afraid. I will not let it be used any more. I will not be used any more.

Back in the real world, your friends seem to have moved on without you. You're resigned to this fact and feel that it shouldn't have to be you to do all of the running all of the time. You begin to wonder, maybe you're being selfish, maybe you shouldn't expect too much but Friendship is a two way thing. Isn't it? So why do you feel let down. So if you ever suggest to me to meet up, please mean it, because in my mind I've probably already pencilled in a day in my diary and thought of what we could do to have some fun and it'll be great!

If you're truly honest with yourself you've never had a best friend for years, if you ever had one in the first place. Sure there were really close friends but you couldn't pick one over the other. You'd like to be part of a duo, or a group to do the fun stuff with. You're not a ghastly person after all. In fact you're actually a truly awesome person and have so much to give, to the right people. To people who respect it and people who appreciate it and accept it without any conditions being placed on your friendship. People who don't wish to put a price on your friendship. And that's what you'd like. Are you asking too much? You don't think so.

Right now your best friend is probably your four year old nephew, but he can't really help you make life changing decisions, nor can he give you boy advice but wow, he makes you laugh and smile with his whole being, and what more can you ask of a friend when you're feeling a little bit down with the world.

I wondered if I should publish this post. I wondered if it was too close to the bone. I wondered what people would think of it. Then I read a truly heartfelt brave post earlier today on another subject and was inspired. I decided that I didn't care as I needed to day this. I needed to put it out there. People need to know that you can't walk over certain people just because they aren't as socially confident as you. I have feelings. And while outwardly I may smile and chat and appear to be okay, inside I ache that there's an emptiness that may never go away, and I question, are you really my friend? I hope that some of you are, oh how I hope it's true. Because I've got a lot of friending to give you.

I'm off to play football in the park with my friend. Ryan.

Angela x

1 comment:

  1. Angela,

    A truly beautiful, honest, yet heartbreaking post.

    And a chance to apologise for being a rubbish, rubbish friend to you. I'm sorry.

    How about a hill in the next few weeks and get that bucket list kicked into shape?

    Lilac swizzle


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