I’ve always found friendship slightly difficult and confusing. TVs show about friendship in your twenties makes you think that you should have a quirky, slightly dysfunctional but tight-knit friendship group like Friends or Sex and the City. But friendship doesn’t always look like this. And that’s ok.
During my teenage years, I was painfully introverted with crippling anxiety. These factors don’t usually bode well for sustaining friendships. I had a wonderful group of besties at school, we had very weird ~inside jokes~ (I read them now on Facebook Memories and think ‘wtf were we on about?!’) and were gloriously emo together. But I struggled to be a consistent friend. I was flaky, thanks to my anxiety, and liked spending time alone. Gradually we drifted apart. Mainly because we chose different paths. It happens; it’s just part of growing up.
After this, I flitted between different friendship groups. Never really feeling truly comfortable or particularly close with any of them. With no real friends to hang out with or confide in, I became even more isolated. I became almost too comfortable with my own company.
Then I met someone who I instantly clicked with. We became instant best buds and still are. For a long time, Ollie was my only friend. The person who knew everything, never judged me, experienced all the craziness of my life, and was chill AF. The exact type of friend I needed, someone who was equally happy to hang out at home or get sweaty in a mosh pit. As much as I love this guy, I still felt like I was missing that coveted girl gang that I’d seen everywhere and everyone else had.
Then university happened. Nobody can quite prepare you for the havoc that is uni halls, or just uni friendships in general. At first, we were one big, happy family from all sorts of backgrounds. I thought I’d finally found that desired Friends-type-friendship. But there was so much alcohol fueled drama and pettiness that could rival the playground, so I fell out with a lot of people. I realised that I didn’t want to give my energy and friendship to people who didn’t make me happy.
Now I’m only friends with two people from the three years I spent in Brighton. They are my mini girl gang. They know every my deepest, darkest secrets, let me be my weirdest-self possible and are always there for me – even when I move to a different country. These two aren’t just friends, they are my family. They lived with me for three years, calmed me down from panic attacks, wiped my tears when I cried and fed me when I was hungover.
So I’ve never had a super large friendship group full of quirky and dysfunctional personalities. I’m a bit of a loner, someone who really loves their own company. Never having that type of friendship made me feel like a failure. Why didn’t I have a large group of friends who I truly connected with? In reality though, does it matter? Not in the slightest. My friendships have always been fulfilling and happy. My small circle is wonderful and brings me so much joy. I don’t care if I don’t have six friends who live next door and regularly go to a local coffee shop because the friends I do have are everything to me.