5 Tough Truths about Friendships

5 Tough Truths about Friendships | Lifestyle Think Piece by Anika May | anikamay.co.uk

5 Tough Truths about Friendships | Lifestyle Think Piece by Anika May | anikamay.co.uk

I’ve had my fair share of friendships for a 22 year old. I’ve changed so much as a person since my first ever friendship, sometimes I look back and wonder how I made those friends in the first place. I still remember my first best friend, we were inseparable since nursery and are still friendly today, but grew into two very different people, she’s actually on the other side of the world as I type.

I’ve learned some tough and sobering truths about friendship over my few years on earth, and to be completely honest, it’s one of the hardest pills to swallow in your youth. A difficult friendship is the one thing life (and TV) never really prepared me for, I had to find out the hard way.

5 Tough Truths about Friendships | Lifestyle Think Piece by Anika May | anikamay.co.uk

5 Tough Truths about Friendships | Lifestyle Think Piece by Anika May | anikamay.co.uk

5 Tough Truths about Friendships | Lifestyle Think Piece by Anika May | anikamay.co.uk

Not Everyone Will Like You

It’s not easy to make friends. It’s really, really not. As a shy and socially-anxious person, the idea of meeting a new person is delightful and terrifying at the same time. I love the idea of a new bestie, someone to talk to about anything and everything, but really struggle to approach someone myself. Over time, I have met people naturally, and started to realise the difficult truth that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea – and that’s okay. Actually, that’s normal. 

We’re all imperfect, we all have character traits and flaws that clash, and we all have an idea of the perfect friend in our head – sometimes the people we meet don’t fit into that mould and therefore don’t fit into our lives. 

And while it’s true that every person shouldn’t be judged as soon as we meet them, it happens and sometimes you just don’t like someone. A lot of the time, I give people a fair chance but something can rub me the wrong way and I become cautious.

It’s easy to say that about someone else, but it’s also really important to remember that people feel the exact same way about you. I know there are people who have never met me that don’t like me, there are people who have met me once and don’t like me, and there are people who I’ve known for years and don’t like me – it’s just how it is!

5 Tough Truths about Friendships | Lifestyle Think Piece by Anika May | anikamay.co.uk

5 Tough Truths about Friendships | Lifestyle Think Piece by Anika May | anikamay.co.uk

Friends Will Come and Go

This is possibly one of the most difficult truths to take on board, I still struggle with the concept. When you meet someone you immediately gel with, you immediately think: “right that’s it, I have a best friend, he/she will be in my life forever and ever and we will dominate the world together.”

As I mentioned at the beginning of today’s post, I still remember my best friend. We knew absolutely everything about each other and spent almost every day together. Yet, as we entered secondary school (the place prison where everything changed), we started to drift and find people who understood us better than we understood each other.

That doesn’t mean there’s bad blood or we can’t talk to each other, it just means that the “best” part of best friends has faded away. It’s something I struggled with during all my past friendships because the drifting wasn’t intentional on either part, but it happens as we grow and develop as people. Priorities and interests change.

You can try as hard as possible to be as close to someone, but on some occasions you just can’t reach that point. Every single person progresses as they age and that sometimes means growing apart from the people you once considered a second family. From time to time friendships just die. 

5 Tough Truths about Friendships | Lifestyle Think Piece by Anika May | anikamay.co.uk

5 Tough Truths about Friendships | Lifestyle Think Piece by Anika May | anikamay.co.uk

Toxic Friendships Are a No-No

A toxic friendship is all too common. I know I’m not alone in this boat because I have seen so many people suffer through relationships with friends that just aren’t balanced and feel more like a chore. One thing I always think to myself is that a friendship should not feel like an inconvenience. I shouldn’t be sighing and groaning at the idea of hanging out, or desperately seeking to get away.

Ditchthelabel.org have with 15 real signs of a bad friend:
They only call when they want something
The conversation is never equal
They put you down or make fun of you in front of others
You feel bad about yourself when you’ve spent time with them
They are aggressively competitive
They aren’t happy for you when good things happen
They bring drama into your life 

They gossip about you behind your back
Your relationship feels like it’s built on conditionality
They bail on you
They use your secrets against you and share them
They are a bad influence and make you do things that get you into trouble
They talk about their other friends behind their back
They bail when you need them the most
They exclude you from things with mutual friends 

If you can feel your mental health deteriorating around a friend, they’re not a friend. Sometimes bad associations have to be cut off, not matter how hurtful it may be.

5 Tough Truths about Friendships | Lifestyle Think Piece by Anika May | anikamay.co.uk

5 Tough Truths about Friendships | Lifestyle Think Piece by Anika May | anikamay.co.uk

5 Tough Truths about Friendships | Lifestyle Think Piece by Anika May | anikamay.co.uk

It’s Always Quality over Quantity

I used to be obsessed with having a big group of friends. I always wanted a mixed group of people I could hang out with on a regular basis and feel comfortable around 24/7. I basically wanted to live out the plot of Friends but magnified. That meant accepting everyone into my friendship group, even if they weren’t a great friend.

The problem with choosing quality over quantity means you not only let toxic people into your circle (which we have established is a no-no), but also lose sight of what a real friendship is, accepting anything close to one. It’s really important that we fish out the best from the pond, and keep a relationship with those who help us appreciate ourselves, so we can also appreciate them. 

There’s no use in having a massive group of friends but not being able to talk to any of them. In fact for me, when I stopped trying to make everyone my friend, my own little group started to grow. And sure, there are still times when we have little tiffs and misunderstandings but we’re not perfect and love trumps all of that stuff.

I think it’s like anything: if you have a set idea in your head (especially one that unattainable), you’ll do what it takes to achieve it, and keep going until you do. When you truly value your friend or friends, you don’t need a massive group of randoms to fill out the space. You’ll be perfectly happy with what you have. 

5 Tough Truths about Friendships | Lifestyle Think Piece by Anika May | anikamay.co.uk

5 Tough Truths about Friendships | Lifestyle Think Piece by Anika May | anikamay.co.uk

5 Tough Truths about Friendships | Lifestyle Think Piece by Anika May | anikamay.co.uk

You Need to Be Friends with Yourself

You’re supposed to love your close ones like you love yourself. How do you expect to be friends with someone if you’re not friends with yourself? You can’t be truly liked by someone if you don’t love yourself, and it’s difficult to love someone when you don’t know how to love yourself first. That’s like trying to offer someone a drink from an empty cup. If there isn’t that love in you first, giving it to someone else is a near-impossible task. 

I think it’s really important to practise self-love for your own personal gain, but also the benefit that has one others.

Being able to find a sense of contentment is an awesome thing for your own health, but it adds a little light into the dark world we live in.

When you start to be friends with yourself, accept you for who you are (and work on the flaws), it becomes a lot easier to be friends with other people. Plus, when you understand your likes and dislikes, traits and characteristics, you draw like-minded people into your circle which is a huge bonus. It sounds really corny and cliché, like something out of a coming-of-age film, but it’s 100% true. 

What are some sobering truths you learned about friendship?

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