I tell my girls how lucky they are to have sisters often. I remind them that their friendships with their sisters are probably the ones that they are most going to appreciate for the long term. I am lucky enough to be close to my sisters. In essence, they are my best friends. They are the friendships I work on the hardest and appreciate the most. They are the friendships that (on very rare occasion) I am hurt by the most but also the ones that give me the most joy. I compare all my friendships to those that I have with my sisters.
However, having a circle of girlfriends is important to me to. They are the people I laugh with, go walking with, talk about toilet training, tantrums and my parenting frustrations with, share dreams and bits of nonsense with over a few drinks. I know there would definitely be a large missing element to my life if I didn't have friends.
Growing up I went to two schools, a primary school and a high school. The need to make new friends was not there, changing friendships were more a result of evolution and growing up.
As a uni student I was in a small course where we all went to the same lectures together, we were thrown together really.
As an adult I moved to a mining town and then another. The need to make new friends became a constant in my life. Mining towns are transient. For every long term friend you make five will probably leave. I am blessed in that I have friends I've met in mining towns in different cities around the country. Some of the friendships I've made are lifeling friendships. The ones where I think of the people everyday and if I saw them tomorrow it would be like I'd just seen them yesterday even though it's been five years.
With another move upon us the need to make new friends is upon me, as an individual, and us, as a couple, agan. This time it's different though. I'm moving home and I'll be livng near my sisters. I'm moving somewhere that I have a small handful of old friends and a bigger handful of new and emerging ones. However, there is the need and the desire to create new friendships. I'm both looking forward to it and terrified at the same time.
Here are a few things (in no particular order) that I have learnt about friends and friendships over the years -
* If you don't have the odd time where you needed to discuss your feelings, well you've possibly got more than your fair share of male hormones. If you need to discuss problems you are having with a particular friend endeavour to do so with a girlfriend who has nothing to do with the friend in question.
* However, don't spend all your time generally bitching to any friend. Personally, I find people who are quite negative draining and quickly back away.
* Don't beat yourself up if you don't like everyone you meet. Everyone's different. Chances are we will cross paths with plenty of women who aren't quite our cup of tea. The tricky thing is when they happen to be part of your social circle. Then I find it's best just to keep my mouth shut, smile and nod....no matter how much I want to slap them and tell them what a bitch I really think they are.
* It is important to give everyone a go, you often find the best people in the most unexpected places and you may not 'click' on first meeting. Likewise, that person you 'click' with instantly may turn out to be someone you really don't like in the long run.
* Don't be afraid to break up with a friend. People change and move in different directions. It is okay to stop making an effort where a friend is concerned if you feel that you really don't have anything in common any more. Chances are you may not have had a huge amount in common in the first place other than circumstance. The hardest thing is making the break clean. I think we ladies tend to dwell on our ex-friends much more than ex-boyfriends. If she asks what's going on, be honest but be gentle and be open to what she has to say in response.
* Stop being so egocentric. I'm pretty sure that most of the times we think to ourselves that 'people are talking about me' they're actually not. I've seen plenty of good friendships go south as a result of what was in someone's head rather than actual fact. If someone really is giving you the cold shoulder it will be a repeated thing as opposed to the odd bad day where your friend is distracted by something that has absolutely nothing to do with you and something you may or may not have done.
* Spend more time worrying about yourself than worrying about other people. Don't try to be better than anyone but yourself.
* If you want good friends you need to be a good friend. Take the time to actually listen, stop checking your texts and facebook and answering the phone when you are having a once every 3 month catch up cuppa with an old friend. Remember her birthday and make an effort to make time. If she doesn't afford you the same, well it's up to you where you go from there. Don't expect more than you are willing to give.
* These things said, it is important to take the good with the bad. It is unlikely that you and your friend will see eye to eye or react the same in a given situation all the time. Try not to be judgemental, accept that your values may differ on certain things and move on.
* Know your boundaries as a friend. Don't just drop in if she hates unexpected visitors. Listen when she is talking about friends and family you don't know, don't be judgemental and don't offer unwanted advice...it will probably bite you on the arse.
How do you feel about making new friends? What are your tips for being a good friend?
Hope that you are having a good weekend.