I have always struggled a bit with friendships and female friendships in particular. I’m not great at letting people get close to me. I look on the surface as though I give a lot away as I am pretty open and outgoing but actually that’s not really the whole truth.
I say enough so that people think they know me when in fact there is so much more going on that I wouldn’t ever share. And if I do it is with those very very close to me that I trust with my life. I keep my very personal stuff to myself, it is too much of me to share with others. I don’t want to be that exposed. I don’t want to be judged and I don’t want to be given all the well meaning advice in the world all of the time. Even if it is from the best of the best people.
So sometimes I make friends and they get a little too close, things are a little too much for me and the wall goes up and I back off. Sometimes I even turn tail and run for the hills. I am scared of being hurt. I have been hurt in the past and I don’t want to let anyone in because I can’t handle the rejection.
Don’t get me wrong, I do have very close friends who have known me for a long time and they really do know me but that has taken time and even then……Sometimes I just get scared of it all you know?
Women especially are scary. We are. We can be loving and passionate, caring and empathetic, strong and fierce. But we don’t forget. Not ever. One wrong move, one word said in the heat of the moment, one mistake and we remember it forever.
I find that hard to cope with because I make mistakes frequently. My mouth runs away with me more often than it should and I sometimes make bad choices. When I do let someone in I give my heart away too much and I often get caught up in other people’s business and I have always found it very hard to say no.
I think we all struggle with friendships in our own way though don’t we? It never stops being ever so slightly a bit like school and the older I get the worse the realisation is that there is no such thing as a “grown up”. I am most certainly still winging it….
So to now…
I started this post a good few months ago when I had some difficult stuff happening with friends and just couldn’t finish writing it. I understand why now as I actually had some real changes in how I thought about myself and my friendships with other people. I am feeling a whole lot more optimistic about everything now but it has taken time.
I am trying to protect myself by saying no when it is the right thing to do whilst at the same time saying yes to the things that scare me that are right for me. Because I can’t keep running away and shutting people out forever. It is hard letting people in. It is worse keeping them out. I am trying to set good boundaries so that I can keep those friendships. Because they matter to me. A lot.
Last year I reconnected with some amazing old friends and made some awesome new ones too. It was really scary, I was terrified of being judged for past mistakes and not being good enough, funny enough, attractive enough, smart enough. All those old fears came rushing back in. I nearly didn’t do it but ohhhhh I am so glad I did!!!
It was really wonderful to be with people that had either known me from old or were finding me for the first time. It was exciting and fun and I really liked being me. As one of my dear friends said after we had seen each other “I feel really content”. I felt like my heart had healed a bit more and that a part of me that I had lost had returned. I felt less disjointed and rootless.
I hadn’t realised how much I had missed that and as another old friend said to me “We must not let those that we love out of our lives so easily. I won’t let that happen again.” We were talking about the sad death of a mutual friend who I hadn’t seen for many years. My friend that I was catching up with also hadn’t seen me for 13 years despite not living far from each other. Life just gets in the way sometimes.
We need these connections – old and new. They are part of us and our experiences together have made us who we are. We know each other. Especially those that we have been through so much with, marriages, divorce, birth,bereavement, mental illness and tragedy. Joyful times as well as the saddest of times.
So to those wonderful people who have known me for the longest time, those who I have joyfully just found and those who I am very excited to meet. Thank you for being my friends. I do need you in my life even if I don’t show it well enough.
And to those lost friends who I have let go through stupidity, mistakes, heartbreak and choice – thank you too for being in my life, for however long it was. I am glad we shared the times we did together.
So here’s to friends. Old and new. Thank you for putting up with me. I owe you one!