Is it wrong that I watch rerun episodes of Friends and feel a pang of jealousy? Fictional characters who epitomise the perfect connection of loyalty, trust and fun.
Just like Sex and the City, the group all displayed unique characteristics; their lives evolved in different directions, yet their bonds never seemed to sway. By the end of the episode or series, they always worked through their problems and somehow managed to become stronger. Marriage, babies and up-and-down career ladders – these life defining moments, could do nothing to split the friends.
In reality, these life defining moments, often leave our friendship groups in tatters. After you make it through the jungle of high-school; feeling like pray where at any given moment, an animal can backstab and attack you, you then have to deal with the grownup side of things which unfortunately, is another type of jungle.
The grownup friendship jungle is one where your friends can leave your hide, at any given moment. We all know the story of the best friend who found a partner and then decided to spend every weekend with him, whilst you browse for a new drinking companion. This is not to say that every woman does this, or that only women do this, but it must be a common stereotype for a reason.
I for the majority of my life have been single. This is dominantly a personal choice; a concoction of perfectionism and not wanting to commit, but I have always had friends who are also single. The one’s that have had partners have always scheduled time for me. The relationships have never been an issue.
That is until, one of my closest friends revealed that she was engaged. My initial happiness became clouded, when I soon realised that our potential holiday and time planned for me, would now be re edited. It sounded very childish and selfish, so I kept this feeling to myself. Eventually, when the honeymoon period died down, it was quickly replaced with the fact that she was pregnant. Two of my closest friends at the same time pregnant; it was an incredible moment. I shocked myself with how much emotion overcame me, especially when I saw the baby photos for the first time.
As happy as I am, it is undeniable that our friendships have now changed. I can only begin to imagine the stress of suddenly being responsible for another human life, whilst dealing with hormones and a completely different body. What is hard nevertheless, is going through your own big life decisions, realising that your best friend can no longer be free to support you.
In these situations, you hopefully figure it out and end up with an even closer best friend, or you depart and go separate ways, knowing that you have lost shared interests. Some may say that only sincere relationships will last through anything, but I do not believe that friendship is as straightforward as this.
We always consider the family first. Despite being close to mine, I have a very unique and dependant bond with my friends. Ignoring acquaintances, these people know far more than most about me. They have been there through my 2am anxiety fears, when I can melt into panic mode, through to my heartache, when I continually ran back to a man who could not commit. The thought of giving them up is such an inconceivable notion. I do not think I would be me, without them.
Only, I have lost many friends. It hurt every time, a more drawn out heartbreak. It hits you when you have a funny memory and can no longer share it with the person that was there. Sometimes, it is organic and work or location, stops forcing you to communicate. Other occasions, it comes at a shock; one minute you cannot go a day without talking, the next you have not spoken in years.
Facebook we pretend, grants us opportunity to re-link back to these lost companions. Mainly you end up watching their lives go by, with you not really involved. It is not always life circumstances. Your friends may just give you up. They might become jealous of your new-found confidence, your new promotion, or maybe they just don’t agree with you anymore. Maybe you become too clingy, without even noticing.
We do not always know the reason. True friendships are a meaningful relationship. Yes they become secondary when you have a husband you adore more than life itself and yes they become secondary when you move away and have new connections to make. You do not need to make love to your friends (maybe you do), or move in with them, to build a lasting partnership.
Why give up a person who has been there from your childhood? Why do we sometimes feel that sacrifices need to be made, that we can no longer keep our friendships? I remember my mother, slowly losing time with each and I always wondered why.
The beaches is one of my favourite films. Despite the sad ending, it was one of the greatest depictions of a loving friendship. Two women whose lives were contrasting, whose jealousy was admitted and competitivity between a man, was simply dissolved. Just like real-life, they struggled to see eye-to-eye. One wanted the bright lights of a successful career, the other married and played a doting mother. In the end, they both saw something in each other’s lives that was missing in theirs and rather than boast or compete, they stuck together. When does this happen normally?
Pondering these thoughts, I watch another episode of Friends. I teach myself that we can have it all. We do not need to say goodbye to friends when life comes calling, unless they start to cause us pain.