Back in November, I made a post about the concept of friendship and what classifies a relationship between two people as a ‘friendship’. I also spoke about the variations, limitations and complexities of friendships, and in retrospect I have a few more points to add. That post can be found here.
Friendship is a great part of life and can bring joy and happiness to people. It’s always good to have someone to share the highs and lows of life with, someone who always has your back and who you can share your thoughts, secrets and ideas with. However, I have recently been pondering over how you, personally, can affect the way a friendship plays out, and how certain things that you do can shape a friendship.
As I am almost certain I have mentioned on this blog before at least once, I find it easy to talk to lots of different types of people. However, ironically, I can also be extremely socially awkward. I don’t like being forced to socialise and I despise being the centre of attention. For example, I hate answering questions in lectures because everyone in the room will be focused on me, however, during the break I will happily turn and speak to someone next to me who I’ve never spoken to before. But on the other hand, I don’t mind being the centre of attention in a group of people that I know. For example, I was always known to give witty answers in high school and make the class and the teacher laugh. I really enjoyed high school and there wouldn’t be a moment where I wasn’t laughing or chattering away in class; and my school reports are testament to that. But if I am somewhere new, or somewhere I don’t know anyone I will stay completely silent. And that’s what throws people off about me. My resting face, I have been told, is stone-cold and intimidating; which is something I can’t necessarily help. But I suppose it has been a blessing and a curse because people don’t tend to mess with me. However, if people don’t know me they often get the wrong idea about me. There have been countless occasions where people have told me they can’t believe I am the way I am because my personality is is completely different to the way that people perceive me at first glance. But as they say, don’t judge a book by it’s cover!
Back to the point I was trying to make; being socially awkward can create limitations in making friends because people often don’t have the time to cultivate conversation. A lot of the time if people feel like a conversation isn’t going anywhere, or a person is being shy or awkward, instead of trying a different angle or to make the other person feel more comfortable, they would rather just find an excuse to end the conversation. However, this isn’t always good as everyone has their bad days and not everyone is the life of the party. Personally, I love finding out that someone who you perhaps would have misjudged based on rumours or a general attitude towards them by others, turns out to be completely different to what you expected; when you find a topic that they are passionate about and see them begin to glow and light up. I find people like this so interesting and refreshing and I tend to come across them surprisingly often. It’s all about taking the time to get to know people, because a lot of the time the people who have the most to say are the worst friends as they are frivolous and change friends with every minute that passes. With the mysterious, seemingly quiet people, it often feels as though you have earned their friendship as you’ve taken the time to get to know them and have shown an interest. Also, they tend to have more interesting and insightful points to make as they are more observant and reserved.
Another occurrence you can find in friendship is when the effort put into the relationship is not equal. For example, when it’s always the same person making the first move, sending the first text, making the first call, and these actions are not returned. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes, often actually, there are people who genuinely have every intention to keep in contact, but get so caught up in everyday life that they never get around to doing it (I’m guilty of this), and a lot of the time it is one person who will initiate but is fine with this as they know the other person does genuinely want to keep the relationship going. However, this is not always the case, and chasing someone can be an exhausting chore. Some people still miss the warning signs of a broken relationship when they are blaring in all their glory right in front of their eyes. It’s very difficult to distinguish unbalanced friendships these days as everyone is so engulfed in their own lives to keep up with another person’s life. However, it is always important to make time for friends; whether it’s setting a certain time in the week, month or even year to meet up regularly to keep things healthy.
Contrastingly, there are also friendships where it’s not the best idea to spend too much time with the person as things always tend to turn ugly. For example, if you know a friend is short tempered and you always accidentally say the wrong thing to get them going, or a friend who is overly competitive and takes everything as a challenge. These friends will turn anything into an argument or debate; just today I witnessed two people arguing about which of the two was the most stubborn! There is also the sensitive friend who gets offended by the smallest thing, and the friend who just gets in a weird mood, becomes standoffish, and makes things really awkward for no apparent reason. These things are all frustrating, but people are people, and you’ve just got to let them be who they are. It’s not the best idea to confront people about these kinds of flaws as they are often touchy and are aware that they come across this way and don’t like it in themselves. However, some are generally unaware and would appreciate you pointing it out to them. Either way it’s risky to bring it up and I would avoid it at all costs unless you discern that they won’t take it the wrong way. But beware, even if they seem like their fine with it, don’t be surprised if they drag it up in the near future and use it spitefully against you. It is also important not to place yourself in situations that you know make you uncomfortable, so if you genuinely don’t feel comfortable with someone then don’t put yourself in situations where you have to spend elongated time with them. Distance yourself, because you are not obligated to be their friend and more importantly, your happiness is paramount.
Finally, I want to talk about that friend, that annoying friend, who is amazing when you get them alone, but around other people they always try to show off and act completely different to how they are with you. For example, they may tease you in front of others, which they wouldn’t do if you were alone, or they might seem cruder, ruder or just completely different. I’m not sure what to think about these types of friends because they may behave like this for a number of reasons. For instance, they may be insecure and only feel comfortable around you, they may respect you so much that they behave around you but let loose around others, they may love attention, they may want to be accepted by those they consider ‘popular’, or they may just be two-faced. Depending once again on how you discern the situation, you may want to ask them why they act up, but as before, this may leave you on thin ice, so be warned!