Friendships – Why do we need them?

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I’ve just come back from a lovely coffee date with a girlfriend, a first time mother of a gorgeous little girl. We catch up two or three times a month over a warm brew, and every time we’re both bursting to the brim with exciting new information to tell each other – health tips, great podcasts or small town gossip. As I sit here today reflecting on our conversation I can’t help but feel content, and grateful, for long lasting friendships.

I can honestly say that all of my friendships have stood the test of time, and I’m pretty proud of it. I’ve known two of my closest friends since around Grade 4, having gone through all the fun teenage things like pimples, boys and silly fights together. Thrown in there was of course, the sad things too – moving cities, break ups, deaths, and the inevitable highs and lows of maintaining a friendship that’s spanned nearly two decades. Ultimately though, it’s pretty amazing knowing someone for that long and still having stuff to talk about. We know each other inside out and back to front, but still surprise each other sometimes – and that’s important I think. We all need to grow, spread our wings and fly.

Then there’s the crazy bunch of people I met at University in the last 8-10 years, who have all stuck by my side through hilarious stories and chapters in life. The share-housing, the pizza nights, the drunken nights, the ones who’ve held my hair back as I’m hurling into a toilet. The ones who’ve travelled all over the world, but when we get together again it’s like no time has passed, and you can pick up right where you left off. The thing I like about this bunch is that we’re all from regional Queensland – Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton and Mackay. Our dynamics as a group are wonderful, and I’m looking forward to what our future holds with a smile on my face.

Lastly there’s the odd assortment of people I’ve met through working in the hotel industry over the last four years, a random bunch of people thrown together with one goal – good customer service. These are the people that see how you react under intense pressure, deadlines and difficult guests. They see you stressed out, put on the spot and can’t help but scrutinise your professionalism, thinking patterns and workplace habits. Getting together outside of the workplace is always interesting – you’ve known each other in one dimension only, and seeing them in ‘free dress’ and talking without boundaries is always a bit of an eye-opener. Ultimately though, you can pick out the ones you’ll click with from an early stage. Once you’ve farted in front of them, commented on their smelly shoes or revealed how you think the guy in the bar is super cute, the friendship is solid.

I think it’s incredibly important to have a variety of friendships from all walks of life, to give us the social outlets we need as humans. That personal connection with people is essential to personal development – we need to feel ‘included’ in certain circles and feel like we’re part of something, contributing to society. I’m truly grateful for all the people who’ve stuck around over the years, and while I sometimes might become reclusive or distant while dealing with my own issues, I’ll always come back with an open hand.

You know who you are 🙂

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Photo credits – hubs_united & multefitt

Meaningful connections; quality not quantity.

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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). 

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Photo credits – panpablo & hellomissmay

It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later

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Having just returned home from a little retreat with friends on the beautiful Sunshine Coast, I’m feeling exhausted but full of love and gratitude for having such beautiful friendships. We had come from all corners of the world for one of our own’s weddings, where we laughed, cried and reminisced together. We made new memories to tide us over until the next gathering (rumours of a destination 30th!), and promised to be better at staying in touch.

So what are friends for? Previous to this getaway, I have to admit I had become a little lazy in maintaining my friendships. A mixture of fatigue from 2016, a move to my home town, being with family and needing a little escape had resulted in my feeling out of touch with those who know me best. The last few days however, have filled me with happiness and appreciation for simply knowing these amazing people. Some of us haven’t seen each other in months, even years, yet it was as if no time had passed when we embraced and greeted each other. This is the mark of true friendship I believe – simply picking up where you left off and having a laugh about the old times.

We participated in the merriment with full cheer, danced under the stars and witnessed the union of two lovebirds, and the best part of it was that we did it together – as friends. We’ve come from all walks of life. Some of us have pursued careers in finance, accounting and law while some have pursued the creative arts and marketing. Yet we are all still bound together by the values, memories and dreams we share. When we departed it was with the knowledge that this was not goodbye, it was see you later. Until then, I love you crazy people and wish you nothing but the best.

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Photo credits – ourmoodydays & yanrwtb