Friendships – Why do we need them?

IMG_4306

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 🙂

IMG_4020

Photo credits – hubs_united & multefitt

Excuse me, can you not?

image

If you’ve ever experienced the relief of getting away from toxic people in your life, then you aren’t alone. Having gone through some recent life overhauls, I’ve distanced myself from a lot of relationships that I knew weren’t serving me in a positive way. Trouble is – there’s always another one waiting around the corner. I think the secret lies is knowing how to manage these relationships without letting them affect your energy and self-worth.

From the nasty colleagues at work to the over-bearing friends, we’ve all been there. In almost every situation we encounter, we are going to meet people that we simply don’t vibe with. How do we know that something isn’t quite right? I’ve learned to identify a few factors – feeling uncomfortable around them, looking forward to the time when you can get away from their presence, and feeling like you can’t be your authentic self to name just a few. So why are these kind of relationships so toxic to us? For one thing, they are DRAINING. You’ll never leave a conversation or encounter with these people feeling happy or refreshed, you’ll feel absolutely exhausted in fact.

From the manipulative people to the drama-queens and everything in between, I’d rather not even bother. Having a few select friends (to go alongside my family) is all I need, and a good book to fill the time. I think you can identify the people who are toxic to you from early on – if their energy doesn’t mix well with your energy, then that’s okay. They’ll find a companion, and you don’t have to deal with it. Of course, in the workplace it’s a little harder to separate yourself from these kind of people. Keep it polite and professional and they’ll soon get the hint that you’re not interested.

We’re going to meet people from all walks of life on this journey of ours, so finding the right people to surround ourselves with is pretty important. Not only will they be your friend – rain, hail or shine, but they’ll be there through all your milestones and genuinely want the best for you. I hope to be very old one day, sitting with my friends and having a laugh about the good times and the wild ride it’s been.

image
Photo credits – ocelomeh.artisans & life.wl