There are four things that I focus on in life: my health (physical, mental and spiritually), my family, my brain (I need a challenge) and my friends. I am fast approaching 36 and in the last week I have spent so much time on the phone or Skype with my friends who are in different continents and countries, and arranged a girl’s night for those friends I have made in my new home country.
As time has gone on I have found that friendships die, change and grow. All of those evolutions are okay it is no judgment on them or me, it is what it is for that time. It contributed a little to me as a person.
I have no friends left from school. Networks yes, but real friendships no. I am still in contact with people on different social networks, but looking back at school I did not connect with the friends around me. It was out of necessity, due to being bullied I found people to have fun with but not truly connect. I started at a university with one 'so called' friend right from nursery who sat at the table in halls (shared accommodation) and arranged with everyone but me to go out, and alienated me. I left that university in the first semester. That was a defining moment for me, where it looked like I gave in, but I didn’t. I decided to go to a different university, study and be me. People either liked me for who I was or I moved on emotionally. I had no thirst to be popular or even accepted. I was going to treat people with kindness regardless but not invest energy where it was not positive back. In that period I lost touch with that group of friends from school and formed my adult mind.
Since the 1st university. I graduated with a BA in Marketing and HR, and went on to post graduate education two masters and currently a doctorate. In that period I made the friends that have been with me through life. Those friends I can pick up with whenever I am back in the UK. They Skype and we fly all over the world to see each other. Our situations have changed over the last 17 years (my 2 oldest friends that I worked at a shoe store with). Some of us are married, have a family, moved countries and continents, but the key thing that has allowed us to change together has been empathy to understand each other’s situation. Where I have seen things break down in friendships, is because that person didn’t understand the other. They didn’t appreciate the others truth. That means that there can be two perspectives in life we all have different circumstances to deal with and lenses that we apply to look at a situation. Sometimes we have to be mature enough to agree to disagree, because everyone has to choose their own path. I see some conflict between 2 sets of friends where there is now a partner in their life they want to spend time with them. In the other situation one would make a different decision that the other, but the truth is we don't live the other persons life. Everyone has to make their own decisions. In my situation now that there are kids there is limited time to regularly get together; in fact the whole quantum time paradigm is reinvented when kids come into the equation! With my good friends I have put myself into their shoes, and tried to get them to understand mine; and they understand. We make quality time together. There is always the promise that when they really need just call. This has stood me in good stead through the life changes so far!
Empathy has been the basis for growth of the friendships that I cherish and want to keep, as well as time. My good friends will always invite me even though I am not in the country, and leave it to me whether I can make it. I am always considered and involved, the friends that I have grown with have a global mind-set, so have grown with me and my development living and working abroad. Most of my friends I met through my masters and yoga, so perhaps the connection that we have is the mental and spiritual challenge. The good friends that I have in Switzerland make quality time once or twice a quarter at least to meet up, as most weekends are absorbed with family time and date nights. This year again I have an extended girls weekend. It amazes me how 6 friends can still be so close after all these years. My five closest friends are Godparents to my children so they are so interconnected to our lives that they grow with us. In July I spend a whole 4 days together catching up and bonding with my friends. The time investment is something that I cherish, and can be difficult to make with two kids under 2 years old. However, it is precious. As my Mum always said if you can count 5 good friends on one hand you are lucky. I would say that I am blessed.
The importance of time for the people and things that we love is what has driven me to start whatiifihadapa. The impact that I can make by giving people more time back in their day is going to be powerful for health, family, mind and friendships.
Friendships - Let them die if they become negative, learn to change with them and provide them with empathy and time to grow.