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Friday, 13 August 2010

Do you confide in your close female friends?

Do you confide in your close female friends?

Well, I suppose the first thing to think about is whether you have any close female friends before you can answer the question.

I used to have real friends at school and at college. After that, I went into jobs where colleagues were a lot older than me and tended just to socialise with whoever I was lodging with at the time and their friends. Once you get into a living together scenario with a bloke, it seems that many of us let friends go neglected and then suddenly realise, the close bonds are gone and perhaps not able to be recovered.

I have probably had two close female friends since leaving university if I am being totally honest. One is a party animal so once I moved away from her home-town, we lost touch beyond postcards, Christmas cards, Facebook etc. She is so different from me (glampuss, not interested in work, ex-junkie - that's her, not me in case you were in any doubt), that our friendship was perhaps destined to be short-term.

The next person hurt me as I put so much into boosting her confidence and helping her try new things. She dropped me as soon as I moved out of the area (and the negative side of me would say stopped being useful to her).

I have tried to make friends in my new town and found making new female friends a disenchanting experience on the whole. I found myself feeling I had to apologise for being me and not being a clone of every baby-obsessed mummy in town. I found there was bitchiness with some women turning on me and using things I had confided in them against me. One woman I spoke to lots about my bereavement (at her offer) appears to have dropped me but does not tell me why. Others said when I was drummed out of a Netmums group, told me that they wanted to stay in touch with me but only managed it for a week or so. Younger than me perhaps but sharing the parenting journey if nothing else.

There are exceptions and I hope that K and C (and the Sunshine Band) might prove true friends over time and experience. They have been great so far but meet-ups are difficult to manage for a variety of reasons.

I did meet a woman who I felt a real bond with immediately. We met at soft play centres and went to the theatre. I was so excited but it seems non-attendance at her son's birthday party (when I was going through shit) has been enough to put paid to that. She does not reply to my emails.

My oldest friend from school last saw me almost two years ago. I have mentioned the idea of a weekend away together but it does not happen. She was only a few miles away recently but again no contact.

Must be a terrible person, mustn't I?

Then there is the miracle that is Louise who contacts me after 30 years apart really. She is willing to share the best and the worst of her which is how I think friends should be so I do the same. We have had one meeting so far which went well and I hope that we might be bosom friends again just like when we were little.

So when I need to confide in someone and there is nobody there, I am all to likely to get drunk and put negative postings (and often unrealistic ones too) on Facebook and Twitter. That is not a healthy way to behave but is I guess an expression of just how lonely life is without female friends.

Contact with an old college peer who wasn't even a friend of mine fills the gap a bit as it feels safe to confide with someone who isn't "real" and who seems nice enough not to want to kick you in the teeth even when you are being daft, negative or whatever.

Of course, I battle on and reach out to Mums in my new area (moving in less than 3 weeks) in the hope of new friendships. If that does not work, in view of what I am going to do next, maybe I will just have to talk to the animals .....

This is a reflective post. I am not sad. Things are actually amazingly on the up but I did want to look at why I do those negative FB posts and what it might suggest about what is missing in my life just now.

6 comments:

  1. Friends should always be there whether you're up or down. If friends can't be there for the bad times, they don't deserve to be there for the good times.I hope our friendship grows stronger in the future, I would like it to.x

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  2. Until the whole mum thing I really had very few female friends and saw them very rarely (mainly a distance issue than anything else). Few women are interested in punk, jazz, funk, drinking Guinness to excess and the various other odd things I did for fun. I'm certainly not girly and found trying to built friendships with other mums quite tricky in the beginning.

    I feel it's another of these forced social situations where it's oh you have children and so do I, bit like school where you're forced into a class of children you may or may not get on with just because of when you were born.

    Whether male or female those who I consider friends will be there no matter what. Whether I'm have a bad day/week/month/year or just picking up from where we left off if we've not seen each other for a long time.

    Hope we can arrange a jaunt to the park or something (maybe even risk Jigsaws) before you set off on this new adventure which I am incredibly jealous of in the nicest possible way and if not will definitely be through to visit even it's without D on my way to Hull.

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  3. This post just about took the words right out of my mouth - I'm so glad I read it as I know I'm not the only one in this kind of situation now.

    I'm betting you are not in London are you!?

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  4. Just catching up with your blog and wanted to say that yes, I find myself in a similar situation. I work pretty much full-time, so haven't done the whole mummy thing (and confess I am scared to death by the whole school playground politics), and most of those I would consider friends live some distance away.
    At the moment that is fine - but sometimes I do wonder if it is worth the time and effort that would be required. I guess in reality I'm actually quite happy in my little hermit existence!

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  5. Catching up after being a social butterfly through the summer hols (or at least, a gadfly). I've always taken it that although having something in common (whether having kids at school or swim class together, owning the same make and model of car / motorbike, being members of a book club or church group etc. etc.) helps get a friendship off to a start by giving you some common ground to talk about, lasting friendships come down to compatible personalities. You may change your vehicle, lose your faith or interest in books and your children will certainly grow up and change schools and other activities, but most adults do not undergo significant personality changes overnight. Any changes are usually slow and may be accompanied by the friendship drifting apart.
    I was always determined that my kids would never have to be best friends with anyone just because their parents were close and equally, felt that although my kids may have favourite playmates, I do not feel obligated to be bosom buddies with their parents.

    Back to the original question, though - yes, I do, regardless of gender, to a degree. I'm aware that friendship can change very quickly if it's not on a secure base or that you can drift apart and regret sharing deep thoughts so I will only confide as much as I feel that friendship can withstand and only deep stuff if I think it will last. Some friends are less selfish than others, so I feel more able to confide in them, but I also take into account what difficulties they have in their life at that time so I sometimes just keep things to myself. Or spread it around - tell different friends different worries so no one person is overloaded and burnt out.

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  6. I can relate to a lot of this post. I think there are a lot of stepford wives out there. And it's very weird when you first have kids being propelled into the parallel world that is 'motherhood.' I think you sound strong and true to yourself. Sod them I say. It's a shame there aren't more people like you near me!

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