2020 has put us on pause, no rat race, no events to attend and up until mid-June shopping was a mere fantasy. During these bleak times, there has been little that we could truly depend on other than Netflix’s, spirits and friends and family. So I got thinking about friendships, the family that you create and how my thirties have changed my idea of what a friendship is, also, can you ever make new friends past thirty without being a weirdo? Who do you decide to cut loose? And how much pressure is there on us to have a ‘bestie’ as a grown woman?
My relationships with women have changed so much with each decade. I am an only child with such a small number of living blood relatives that you could fit us on a two-seater sofa, three if you include Dennis and Neville. With no brothers or sisters friends have always been a big deal, I was that kid that as soon as we got to the pool on holiday I was like a locust praying on anyone that fit my age bracket so I didn’t have to play bat and ball with a wall. Don’t get me wrong, my Mam is always going to be my best pal, it’s the honesty beyond comparison to any other, she will kill me for this but here are some gems….. The time that we were shopping in Marks and Spencer and I couldn’t find the tomatoes and I asked a young shop assistant and he got a bit bashful, on my return, Carol promptly exclaimed to me ‘See! You’re still pretty’ (clearly this had been in question). Not forgetting when I moved back home and she was helping me unpack my underwear ‘you have a lot of bras, funny really’. Even your most honest friend has their limit. This is why I prefer to shop with her, ‘seen you in better’ is always what I need no matter what I am trying on, I particularly like when shop assistants say ‘yeah those boots/shoes/dress have been super popular’ and Carol says ‘the worst thing you could have said'…. She’s right, exit stage left.
In my teenage years, I had few friends, no need for sad Disney music. I was a bit odd. I wasn’t in the popular crowd (slags), I was a swot and I was shit at sports, put it this way, when picking teams for rounders I was always the fielder at the part of the field that if any 13 years old could bat that far they would be an Olympian, I was awesome at daisy chains though. I did try and fail miserably at making friends, my desperation was as evident as my acne and what I didn’t understand back then was that there was no one that I liked, I wasn’t a follower but I wasn’t a leader either. School was shit, so I studied and ate my packed lunch in the corridor and it was hot dogs with ketchup, nightmare.
My twenties were a lot better, I made lifelong friends in this decade, who will be with me until my number is up, (she's the snow-white skin one), she's doing my makeup when I die, open casket, as if I would waste that expensive makeup without one last hurrah. Also, towards the end of my twenties, I cut a few loose and finally learned that quality was better than quantity. Then came my thirties, how do you make new friends in your thirties without being a weirdo?
Throw out the friend rule book
All friends do not have to be like me, by that I mean they don't have to like the same things, look similar, dress similar and have taken a similar life path. Three of my closest friends that I have made in the last ten years are all very different to me, one is absolutely stuns isn’t calorie obsessed (he will murder me for that), one likes cats, has hair of an angel and has pasta tattoos, (probs also ghost me) and one is a born and bred Californian with the wit and sarcasm of a Brit - unheard of, I know, and she sends me grape jelly, I don’t even want to kill her because she has a pool and calls it a backyard. Basically, don’t rule anyone out because they don’t fit your mould. But don’t go too far down this road, there is different and there are still arseholes, just look for the gems.
Friends will f**k up
I always have had this perception that if I fall out with anyone that's it, game over, friendship voodoo doll the works. I think it stems from not fighting with a sibling, arguments or disagreements always seemed so final and that scared the shit out of me. Turns out that the point of having friends is so that you can be yourself, there's nothing wrong with a good loud talking discussion, it changes nothing, just don’t do it over text. Has it made me realise that friendship is more than one argument? Yup. It’s pretty boring if you’re both just braiding each other's hair and agreeing with each other all the time, it's also pretty false and not true to your pal, say what you have to say as I always so poetically say ‘don’t be a fanny’.
Recently, I met up with someone I had never met before, like a first date but a friend date. She is a fellow blogger and had the balls to reach out and suggest we meet up, I jumped at the chance and wished I had done it first. Why is it such an odd concept for two women to meet up that don’t know each other? It wasn’t even awkward and in terms of dates, it was way better than a lot of dates I have been on, especially the one where he cried about his ex and I had to go to the toilet to get him a tissue, awks.
The ride or die group
I have always been a huge fan of Sex and the City, it's not just the clothes but the concept that four women can have a life long friend friendship no matter what, their priority is each other, they meet for lunch three days a week, all look fabulous, never compete, are always available, thoughtful and have money to burn. It is fiction, but good fiction. My ride or die group are real life and I wouldn't swap them for Miranda, Samantha or Charlotte…. Possibly Carrie….. Sorry, not sorry.
So basically, the last few years has taught me that you don’t measure your friends in time served, you measure them by what they bring to your life. As if, you, of course, measure them by the gifts they buy you.