Colours of friendship

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I’ve been feeling quite fantastic recently – I’m smiling, laughing and not letting things get to me. But then, my mood dipped a little when I ventured onto Facebook over the weekend.

I’ve learned over the past few years that social media is hurting friendships – people are saying things they would never dare to say out loud face-to-face, due to the façade of safety behind the computer/laptop screen. I, for one, lost one of my longest standing best friends over the severity of having little face-to-face contact and more Facebook-to-Facebook conversations with one another. Since then, my life has become vastly different. In fact, this brings me to my next point… Though I’m in a good place, I feel as though I have very few true friends – and that rather saddens me.

I’m in a good place, and I haven’t been thinking about my lack of ‘true friends’ per se – instead, I’ve been doing like I promised and living in the present. But over the weekend when I encountered a friend’s status on Facebook, I was suddenly lurched back into those feelings of insecurity and lack of self worth. I’ve recently discovered that I have quite a good little group of friends; they’re able to make me smile and I for them. However, though I try not to show it, I also get a little annoyed with details and often find myself having little panic attacks or ‘grump attacks’ over the things that annoy me as they really get to me. But that being said, they are wonderful people who have shown me friendship during the time I’ve most needed it. That’s probably why it hurt so much when I realised that I had been left out of attending an afternoon tea at a beautiful little restaurant. The girls had “the best afternoon ever”, tagging themselves in at this restaurant alongside a picture of their delicious food. Ouch. Way to show me that I hadn’t been invited. It just made me feel like I’d done something wrong, that I hadn’t been as good a friend to them as I thought I had, that maybe that just really didn’t like me. However, that could just be my insecurities!!

Although this may have been the only time this has happened to me with this particular group, my mind was transported back a few years to when I often felt excluded by some of the girls I called my best friends. I was part of what one would call an exclusive friendship, and though I was part of the ‘exclusive four’ I often felt like the hanger-on, the one that wasn’t really part of the group. This feeling was often intensified through use of inside jokes that I wouldn’t understand, having only become friends with the girls 4 years after their group had formed. What I have learned now, however, is that the new group of girls I count as my close friends will always be the better friends for me – especially in comparison to what I went through with the old group.

It was on Facebook, too, that I first found out that my ‘best friends’ had gone on not one, but two different holidays without me. The first of which they went down south to celebrate surviving the first year of university. Yes, I was no longer friends with C*, we had each other blocked on Facebook, but still, I felt that the way I found out about this trip was not one of the best – especially given that I was in a very, very dark place. One of my other friends messaged me to ask if I was having a good time down south (assuming I was with the other girls). I was surprised and went on Facebook to have a look at what she was talking about, and that’s when I saw it. They could have told me what they were doing, even told me that they would have liked me there though C* didn’t want me there, they could have just let me know they were going away just the three of them. But they didn’t and I was left to find out via social media. This has happened 3 times now, and it’s now at the stage where I really don’t bother anymore – I don’t even bother inviting them out to get togethers sometimes…

However, I will admit that one of the girls E*, to this day, I will forever count as my best friend. We might only see each other a few times a year, but she is the one friend who has stuck up for me no matter what and taken my side over her other best friend who she has known for years. She is the kindest person ever. Which is why I felt that I felt I should show my face at her birthday party, even though I would be hated by one of the girls throwing the party… E* deserved that much.

I’ll never forget the mortification and humiliation I went through when I attended my best friend E*’s surprise birthday party. I turned up to the party knowing full well that C* would be there and that we were never going to be friends ever again. What I didn’t bargain on was the lack of compassion and common courtesy that I would be shown by both C* and another friend H*. The two of them made me feel completely unwelcome, throwing away my attempts at civility with C* and walking away whenever I tried to make conversation with them. The hostility they both showed towards was noted by some of E*’s close family friends and they did their best to make me feel welcome. I deliberated a plan in my mind that I would sit through the awkwardness and I would be able to wish the birthday girl her happy birthday, but unfortunately she ran over an hour late and I was very tempted to get up and leave. It may be cruel of me to say this, but the best thing that came out of the party was that I was the friend who came out on top. The one that was called nice and friendly, I was the one that introduced myself to other adults at the party – C* and H* on the other hand were looked down upon for their treatment for me and for being exclusive and not talking to anyone else.

H* ‘apologised’ for her actions a week later after having been reprimanded by parents. However she added in that she hadn’t felt she did anything wrong, and I lost respect for her even more so then. I realised that her friendship with C* was also one of trouble, one where C* was in charge and H* was her little follower. It was a friendship that caused H* to be blind to the pain she caused me – how could someone not realise that ignoring your so called ‘best friend’ is not only socially unacceptable but also very cruel.

Thanks for letting me drive home in tears. 

Looking back, the friendship with these girls has always been a power play with C* not wishing to give up her role of top dog.  Parties only highlighted this. I soon began to see that these girl’s were very cliquey and that they wouldn’t mingle with those they felt unworthy. I’m ashamed to admit that I, too, was probably like that whilst I was friends with them. Facebook may make it obvious where you stand with those around you, but it’s the parties that really show you who you’re friends are (With or without alcohol) 

It was my 18th birthday – it was supposed to my night to shine, one where I would be the centre of attention. And yes, I had originally been looking forward to it, but after my hand through the window accident (Read about it here) I was having a hard time getting psyched for my own party. But the day came and I was excited again, I felt like I looked pretty and the house looked amazing. I had a few tears but in the end all my best friends were able to come, including C*, E* and H*. It was at this party that I realised how cliquey they truly were. Though they somewhat talked to others, and nodded polite hellos at my family, it was very much so the three of them – they were inseparable. And don’t think it went unnoticed by all my other guests. The worst part of the night was when C* decided she was tired and took the other two girls over to the couch where they all proceeded to fall asleep – whilst the rest of us were all out and dancing on the dance floor. I felt so insulted, more so insulted when the feat became something to brag about “I’m such a party animal I fell asleep at Shannon’s party”. Way to make me feel good about the party I’d been having a good time at.

C* and I had always had a rocky friendship, she was used to being the one with all the guy attention and the ‘prettiest’ of her friendship. Then I came along and apparently I was her competition. At my party, I felt like she truly wanted to upstage me. She turned up showing off her skin and her skinny legs, refusing to wear a mask as it made her look ‘weird’. Determinedly she flirted with the guys at my party, always touching them and making sure to steer the conversation away from me – she even continued playing with my friend T*’s heart, even though she knew he wanted her and she didn’t want him (it shocks me that later on I ended up becoming this same kind of person). 

It was at my 18th too that I realised some people had refused to show up for what I thought were some minor reasons. For example, another girl CC* had not wanted to show up because her ex-boyfriend of a year was going to be coming – even though she claimed I was one of her best friends, she wouldn’t come to my own party just because of the thought of him. I was well prepared to turn up to hers, even though I knew that my ex-boyfriend M* could very well be there. So why couldn’t she do the same for me?

I felt my friends had shown their true colours and it was after that night that I began questioning my friendships with those around me – it was after that night that I realised I hadn’t found my true friends.

Today I’m still learning about friendship and what it’s like to be friends with people – I’ve learned that things don’t always run smoothly, but that there will always be people there for me.  

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