Girlfriends for seasons

“Honour the friendships that allow you to pick up from where you last left off, regardless of how long it’s been since you connected. The friendships that survive hiatuses, silences and space. Those are the connections that never die”. @la_passionate

I’ve always had this underlying feeling that friendships are for different seasons in your life, as well as for reasons.

My entire life, especially while growing up, friendships have almost always been one of my main important focuses. I place a lot of emphasis on the friendships I have made.

I’ve even categorised these friendships into very specific groups: primary school friends, high school friends, university friends, Dinner Club friends, dancing friends, antenatal mum friends, childcare friends, online mum friends, social media friends, work friends at multiple work places, family friends, school mum friends etc as though all of these friendships only exist how they each started in the groups I met them in.

I have always made time for my girlfriends. I have always prioritised the effort and work that we put into maintaining friendships that are not as current and prominent as they used to be. But I guess as I’m growing older I definitely have let some slip by the wayside. I don’t mean I’ve cancelled them or ended friendships, rather realised that as a woman, a mother and as a person, we change, our lives change and so too do our priorities. These friendships still exist and each time we catch up, we pick up where we previously left off.

It is not that a friendship becomes any less important, only it changes with time and the amount of energy that is put into it. I guess I have slowed down with being the main instigator into keeping friendships alive. There is nothing wrong with that but it can be exhausting doing all the chasing and making contact. Rather the quote above spoke to me, provided some peace and understanding about the longevity of important and everlasting friendships.

If we have put in the ground work, the hard work in those early days of friendship, experienced things that only us as friends have shared than surely that will be enough to sustain and therefore pick friendships up where we last left them off.

As we age we become less selfish about our individual needs and instead more selfish about the bigger picture. Not everything is about just us anymore, but in the same sense it is. We have other relationships to prioritise, marriages, partners, family and children as well as working and busy lives.

For me there is no better friendship than that with a close group of girlfriends who share secrets, laughs and amazing memories.

Aging can be so confronting, so each time we catch up with past friends, we are reminded of how differently we used to be. In many ways that seemed important at the time, we cherish those fond memories and the trip down memory lane over the friendships we created in our younger years. We reflect on drama, laughs, sharing memories and adventures, all the while feeling happy with where we are now.

We share so much in good friendships that we end up intertwined for the rest of our lives and to me that is the mark of a good friendship. One that picks up where we left off, transporting ourselves back to the times we shared together.

The best thing about social media for me has been staying in touch with all of my friendship group areas. Linking my past and present friends and even finding new ones. For all the bad rap social media gets, maintaining positive, mature friendships and sharing parts of ones lives, it is a precious tool to remain in contact with special people that you may not see as much anymore. I am glad though to experience social media as an ‘older’ user, without having to worry too much about online bullying and other trivial but often harmful consequences.

I love to meet my friends friends. After all , if I love my friends as much as they love their friends, surely we too would also be a match? When I was young I used to think I had to have a certain number of exclusive friends to love. No one new could infiltrate my friendship circle until a position became available. What a narrow minded way to live?

As I grow older and more comfortable in myself, I really do welcome new friends, young and old. I value getting to know new people who see the world differently to me and have experienced journeys unlike my own.

I love to learn about a new friend, what they love, what makes them tick and who they are. I used to find it hard to still be friends with someone who had different views or opinions, other than my own. I now welcome the challenge of being able to understand where someone comes from without necessarily agreeing with them.

Whether I meet new friends through work experiences, school play dates, or randomly through other people, it has become one of my favourite things to do. Make new friends.

I love the overlapping of friendship groups and socialising with new friends as well as old. While it is exciting to meet new people there is nothing more special than the comfortableness of an old friend who understands you, knows you and enjoys just hanging out with you.

All I know is that I could never have navigated through my life so enthusiastically and lovingly without the female friendships I have developed over the years. These friendships have been amazingly enlightening, thoroughly beautiful, questioningly painful but always special friendships that I have held close to my heart.

While male friendships and relationships are equally as important, I have always needed and cherished my girlfriends.

My friends have always given me a sense of worth, of self and of complete freedom to be myself even when struggling with an issue or life experience that only a true friend can share and help solve.

Honesty, loyalty and kindness. My three big factors of a true and lasting friendship.

And to all my girlfriends, past, present and future, I thank you for always being there for me.

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