On Friendship: Girl gangs, ex-pats and making new friends.

It’s really important to have a circle of great girl friends, right ?  For crazy nights out and gossipy nights in. Because when the shit hits the fan, it’s your girl friends you can rely on. Or so we’re told.

Is it a media cultivation? Boots adverts to the soundtrack of ‘Here Come The Girls’; Sex and the City; an infinite number of movies and TV series. It’s a highly stylised version of female friendship – dressed up, linking arms, strutting down the high street. Is it a reflection of your life? (if it is, that’s great ‘Good for her! Not for me’) But it isn’t a reflection of mine. Not since I was 19 anyway. And don’t get me started on groups of women being referred to as girls. (#feministkilljoy)

herecomethegirls

Boots Ad ‘Here Come the Girls’

I don’t have a lot of friends. I don’t have a ‘group’ , not any more, rather a smattering of individual friends. I live in a country I moved to in my twenties. Most of the jobs I’ve had here have been in small companies , with not much opportunity for friend making . With kids I don’t get to go home as much anymore , so maintaining closeness with old school friends is hard, and I definitely don’t have the time or money to travel to various cities in the UK to see university friends , who are across the country.

So I have , literally , a handful of friends. And they are good friends. So don’t feel sorry for me, I’m fine with this. I’m an introvert so love spending time on my own. I don’t excel in groups and prefer a more intimate environment. I find myself great company, to be honest. It’s only when I turn on the TV, or read a magazine that I think I’m missing out.

I’ve recently been dumped by a friend who I haven’t seen for a year now. Emails with suggestions of times to meet have been replied to, but then there’s always a reason why she’s busy. I get it, I’m sure she is. We all are. So whilst I’m sad and , yes, a little hurt I can chalk it down to experience, and if she wants to connect again at some point, I’ll still be here.  I’ve had some amazingly close friendships over the years , which , for whatever reason, have not lasted the course. Sometimes people are only in your life for a certain period and it’s hard to maintain multiple friendships when you’ve moved to a different country. And I don’t do Facebook, so maybe that doesn’t help.

Through blogging and Twitter this year, I have found some new friends – I just haven’t met them, yet. I hope I’ll meet some of them , soon. Sometimes I think the friends who live in my phone understand more of what’s going on in my life than some of my real life friends. Not through their fault, it’s easier to show yourself to people when you’re starting fresh with them. People who’ve known you for years have expectations which arent always easy to change. That’s probably why I’ve only told a handful of real life people about the blog .

Still, despite this I do sometimes miss the idea of having that friend you can call in the middle of the night. Or maybe I do have those friends , I just haven’t had to make the call yet.

I was out at the weekend with a friend I met in work. We worked in the same office for a couple of years, and got on well but I would have described her then as a ‘friend from work’, not a friend. Then I went on maternity leave and she moved to a different job in a new department , which meant we didn’t work in the same office anymore. When I came back from leave we started to meet for lunch two or three times a week. Those lunch breaks became my sanity in a difficult couple of years. We were both unhappy at work and bonded over that. On days when I felt low I looked forward to those lunch breaks , and weeks when she went on holiday felt interminably long. We gossiped, we laughed, we complained. We talked about books and TV and ideas . We shared stories about where we had been and how we didn’t know where we wanted to go next . This year, we marched for choice together.

After our night out this weekend, when I got home I realised here is someone who knows me as well as my closest of friends.  We are similar , but different. I could tell her anything, and not feel judged. Not just a friend from work, a good friend, a best friend. Obviously I’m too repressed to ever tell her this directly, and even though I hope I have no reason to make it, she is my midnight phone call.

 

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11 comments

  1. Amazing blog post. Friendships are so important. And yes we only need a few. The ones who you can call in low times are amazing. Not sure what I would have done this year without my friends. Totally agree that friends come and go. We learn that with age and also learn to not take it personal. X

    Liked by 1 person

  2. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE.
    It’s funny, I had the same experience this weekend. *CRIES AT DESK*

    Liked by 1 person

  3. shinnersandthebrood · · Reply

    While I know the subject matter here is serious and I am totally sensing how awkward and lonely it must be living in a new country, I must say AGAIN, I just love how you tell it! I had a wry grin at a number of junctures in the post – how you’ll never tell your friend from work how much you value her? Of course not! Sure that would be bonkers! And feministkilljoys are the best kind of killjoys, surely?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thanks Shinners. You are one of the friends in my phone ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. without being sounding super crazy – let’s be friends? because you honestly sound like a person I would get on with… I just moved to Dublin, from South Africa. I have over the years learnt that friends are better in a smaller quantity (quality over quantity wins every time) but since I moved here I feel as though I am the only one picking up the phone to keep in touch with friends back home. I knew there was a chance that this could happen to a few fair weather friends but its the friends who surprise you by letting you down that hurt the most. anyways, I have found you on Twitter – lets start there 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah how lovely ! Think I’m following you now on twitter so will say hello

      Like

  5. I loved this post! I can definitely relate to your experience. I am an expat too and have reflected a lot lately on how challenging it can be to create ew friendships- especially when you keep comparing them to those you’ve had for many years in your country of origin.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this post! I have been reflecting on how important my friendships are to me recently, and I know sometimes I have been that friend making plans and then canceling… First step is awareness, right?

    I love your blog, and I’ve nominated you for the Blogger Recognition Award. https://wordpress.com/post/oneflawsomemomma.wordpress.com/448

    Like

  7. Can totally relate, been moving around every year since I was 18. Finally came to a stop 3 years ago in Guatemala and am realising that actually its tough going working on long term friendships… in some ways when you change palces every year you can start afresh, settling down poses other challenges. I just need to be patient!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is me all over! You only need a couple of good quality friends I say. A Tribe that you don’t need to make much effort with and are easily to please. I’m an expat and finding it hard to find friends that just click. Been moving around for past 10 years and have always been away from friends and long term friends so totally understand how hard it is.

    Like

  9. You wouldn’t believe how much I’ve been thinking of something so similar the last month. I’ve only recently properly reconnected with a friend I lost touch with. Completely my fault because I was too stubborn to realise how much I needed her. Now we are constantly texting each other and meeting up at weekends and for midweek lunches. She’s going out of her way to be my friend again despite me being a bit of dick the past year (I have issues hah). Friends are important but for me it’s that one friend who is the most important

    Like

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