As I’ve gotten older, wiser and more in tune with myself, I’ve noticed a gradual dwindling down of the people in my life – and all for the better. Cutting out the noise of meaningless acquaintances and relishing in just a handful of long term friendships, has proved to be both rewarding and refreshing. When I first started University 10 years ago it was all about going out in large groups, mingling and mixing with as many people as you could, while ultimately making very few real connections. These were the people you could rely on to muster up some cheap wine and cheese in a flash, but at the end of the day you didn’t really know a thing about each other.
Nowadays I only have time for the people who have stuck around through the ups and downs of life, through the new jobs and share houses, new cities and relationships. When you catch up with these people, even if it’s a few months or years in between, it’s as if no time has passed and you pick up right where you left off. These are the people that matter, who will be there with you through all of life’s hurdles, ready to share a laugh and a (hopefully) nicer category of wine than your early 20’s could allow for.
So why do we surround ourselves with so many people when we’re younger? Is it to feel important, sociable, and like we have options? I think it’s a mixture of these things. Sure, it’s great to have different circles of people for different things – some friends might prefer a small gathering over board games and a cup of tea, while others will be there when you need to let your hair down. But make sure you aren’t just holding on to such friendships for the sake of it, and that you genuinely value their company. For so long I would continue catching up with people out of guilt, and walk away feeling lonelier than I did before. These people had no idea what I actually liked doing or who I was, so why was I bothering to make an effort?
Learning to let go of ‘keeping up appearances’, and being satisfied with a handful of meaningful friendships has been a real pleasure. I’ve got more time for myself and my family, and I’m there for my friends when it counts (and vice versa).
One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and be understood.
(Lucius Annaeus Seneca).
Photo credits – panpablo & hellomissmay