If there was always something that I’ve dispised it’s that people aren’t who they seem. People put on faces; whether that is for professional reasons or personal, it’ll probably take you several weeks or even months to start really knowing someone.
I think that’s my first lesson of 2014. Of course, I already knew it to a certain extent– I don’t hide the fact that I don’t enjoy certain people’s company because I feel that they’re “fake”, and there’s some people who are too high maintenance. Personally, I would rather be honesty from the off, though this might mean I have far less people who I would call “friends”.
But I also think my judgement has changed as I’ve grown older. Like I’ve touched on in previous posts, I’ve changed friendships several times over my life. I moved schools between high school and sixth form which meant I lost many friends that I had known since I was in primary school because I wasn’t seeing them everyday, and the same thing happened when I moved to university. Once at university, I seemed to lose a portion of friends on a yearly basis as we started to move in different circles, our academic load became too much or they were older and had graduated.
But I think the hardest reason to lose a friend is when they are no longer who you thought they were– it’s like one day you look up and a complete stranger is standing in front of you. They do something, or say something, that completely shocks you and from then on your friendship is never the same.
But at the end of the day, none of us start a friendship on a contract. We don’t agree to be friends with a written list of obligations, or even a handshake. In most cases, there’s not even a mutual understanding– yet both parties have an expectation of the other.
It’s only in the off chance that those expectations are the same that two people can call themselves “best friends”.
I think that’s why we need to go through these changes and meet new people. In my case, having the same friends through primary and high school meant that I didn’t know much else. In fact, I felt completely abandoned when I moved to sixth form and didn’t know anyone. Which is the reason I left sixth form easily, running off to university because I hadn’t made any effort to get to know anyone during years 12 and 13. I didn’t understand how to make new friends, which is an odd thing for a 17/18 year old to not be able to do.
I’d gotten too comfortable; and when my “friends” had began to change I didn’t question it. In fact, I probably thought it was my own fault for not changing with them– assuming that they were simply growing up and I was lagging behind. Throwing drinking, smoking and sex into the equation just confused me beyond belief. But I went along with their ideas, to a certain extent, because they were my friends and they obviously knew what was right.
I think that’s the same stage that I’m going through now. A friend was having a lengthy conversation with me the other day about another friend that I have. They made certain comments about the second friend’s personality, and they weren’t all too positive about them. But none of it was new to me, I knew that people had made these judgements on that person already and I guess I agreed with some of their points.
But when they suggested that I try to distance myself I found myself refusing:
“I don’t have many friends, and I would rather keep the ones that I know.”
It’s ironic that if I were to go back to my 17 year old self I would tell myself to “run!” while I had the chance. Leave the past behind and grab every opportunity to get out of my comfort zone– and yet, here I am, 22 and still refusing to leave my comfortable chair despite everyone changing around me.
I have a feeling 2014 is going to be the year that all changes.