There’s that old saying isn’t there… that you should be able to count your true friends on one hand. I really think there is something in this.
OK so, maybe not literally on one hand. You may meet many true friends in different places, who will play important roles in different stages of your life. Friends from home, from work, from travels. You may make good friends through other friends. But even so, there is something important in this idea that actually, you shouldn’t have tens or hundreds of friends. That if you do, maybe they aren’t ‘friends’ at all. I think it’s quite common to have a group of people you hang around with, and you assume they are your friends, but are they? Do you trust them? Do you love them? Do you protect them? And do they do the same for you?
Think about who your friends are. Your true, real friends. The ones who will look after you when you are ill, and cheer you up when you are down. Who will make you laugh when you need it. Who will keep your secrets, who understand you like no one else could, and who give you the best advice without taking over your life. The ones who will never hate, or judge, or be envious. Only love, appreciate, respect and embrace. Sure, you may have many common aquatances who are nice enough people, who you can have a chat to about current affairs and have a drink and a dance with on a night out, but that doesn’t make them friends and that is ok.
Having lots of friends shouldn’t be some sort of goal. In the modern age of twitter and facebook it’s easy to become obsessed with how many people like us or seem interested in us. How many facebook friends do we have? Or twitter followers? etc? But really, does any of that matter? There is a massive distinction between real life, and online life, even as the two become so intertwined, that distinction will remain. In your real life, your guard is down. You are truly yourself. And your true friends love you for it.
Some people in your life will lift you up, and others will bring you down. Life is too short to pretend to be friends with people who you can’t like, or trust, or with people who make you miserable. Friends are like the family you choose. So think about who you would choose. But also, think about who feels like family. When I think back before I went to uni, and I think about some of the people I considered friends back then, it makes me laugh. It’s nothing against those people, but they weren’t really my friends. They wouldn’t support me. They would judge me. They didn’t get me. And then I went to uni and I found people who I know I will be friends with for life, because the bonds I’ve formed makes me feel more like a sister than a friend. And some of the friendships that have grown have not just been at Uni. I have met people at festivals who make me laugh and make me feel like I can be myself, rather than someone else. I have formed lasting friendships with people from home, who I went to school with, who were always there. And I think a big part of that is discovering who I am, and my own mind, and knowing what I want from life. And what I want is happiness, understanding, fun and adventure. I don’t want little dramas, which you get with others. I meet people now much older than me, bitching about people who they claim are their ‘friends’… but are they?
So now I ask you to eliminate the people in your life who are dragging you down, and embrace the people who make you feel like the best version of you. Friendships are not about quantity, but quality. Who would you count on your one hand?