Friday, November 12, 2010

The Friendship What if

I'm sure we all have a few friendships that have fallen by the wayside in our lives. Whether they were the sort that were short lived or the sort that you were sure would last a life time, but somehow petered out matters not because sometimes these things leave a 'what if' stamped on your heart. Like all 'What If's that you haven't completely let go, you can only brush them under the rug for a while before they inevitably resurface asking you how you could have salvaged things or how things would be if you just bumped into each other on the streets. Would you pretend not to know each other? Stop for a quick awkward conversation? Or would it feel as if things had never fallen apart in the first place.

In my just over a quarter century of life I've had quite a few friends and twice as many acquaintances, the majority of which were made during my school years and drifted away when those years ended. I still have a handful of these friends in my life now, two of them are people I've been friends with for 20+ years. I made a few friends at work and at college and some of the best times I've ever had were with a few of those friends. I have so many photos of us laughing it up, causing mischief and just hanging out that it's hard to believe that those people are no longer in my life as anything more than a friend of a friend. Other, older friends, have become even less than that... simply ghosts and shadows from the formative years of my life.

Do I think about these specters of friendships past often? Normally, no. I used to cringe when they were brought up in conversation, a verbal pebble thrown at me causing me to flinch, but not an longer. I no longer get sad or wistful over photographs or lose myself in the wondering of what life would be like if I still had these friends.

I wouldn't be thinking about them today either, but I had one of those gripping and vivid dreams that can be so real that you're unable to convince yourself it's a dream until you manage to manifest something outrageous, like a flying pink elephant. One dream, two of the biggest phantoms in my 'what if' catalogue and the wondering of it all continues in to the morning. I was sure I had let go and come to terms with the fact that both of these friendships, while important and seemingly vital to my livelihood at two points in my life, have been long gone. Perhaps the extreme difficulty I'm having meeting people and making friends here is dragging up the memories; I've been feeling lonely having only managed to go out with someone other than Joe or his friends twice in the past seven months. I love my husband and love spending time with him but I'm used to having friends over for game nights, going out for coffee or a pint to chat, or just getting together for no real reason at all at least once or twice a week. Going from having several very good friends and doing things regularly, to having not a one is lonely.

Perhaps the phantoms were dredged up by these feelings since they were part of some of the best periods of my life, perhaps they weren't. I know that this morning I am grateful for coffee, custom orders and my upcoming craft show to keep me busy and Gogol Bordello to raise my spirits and distract me, otherwise I might spend my day in the wonderings of the 'what if's.

13 comments:

  1. I think our lives go through different shifts - sometimes there are many people we are close to in our lives and at others, this is not the case. We feel somewhat lonely. But I think those "lonely" time are growth spurts, helping us to focus on ourselves. If we're having a grand old time with friends, busy all the time, our inner work gets left behind. What ifs are the bane of one's existence, LOL, you just can't go back - but we all do it sometimes, don't we?

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  2. I can relate to this post. I know the "what if" feeling you are talking about too. I hope that you are able to make a few good friends to hang with soon! Maybe the dream was a good omen of new friendships to come!

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  3. Wow, I can relate too. I moved to a place where I didn't know a soul except my husband. His friends became my "friends" but not like the friends I used to have. I don't know if I will meet any friends here in the city. It's very impersonal.

    Now, I have a theory that you are not alone in this because of this little thing called Facebook. You see these ghosts from the past and you can't help wondering about them - and should you ask them to be your FB friend?? (because that's not quite the commitment of agreeing to be a real life friend, right?) Well, I decided to try to mend a bridge once this way and the person not only never answered my message but left FB. Guess I got my answer. But it was then that I REALLY REMEMBERED my very one-sided relationship with this self obsessed individual. So I learned my lesson - There are reasons we move along - good ones. As for your dreams - I think that sometimes others communicate to us through dreams - perhaps those people were thinking about you and not the other way around?

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  4. I know just how you feel I moved far from home back in may and it has been really really. People were constantly telling me i would find it easy to make friends but it is hard when u have to start over new. I was just like you I had a solid group of friends I saw at least 2 times a week we would go to the pub or go out for meals and if any of us need someone to be there we could just walk to each others houses. I am really close to my family too and I had to leave them behind. But i am finally starting to get some where now. I have met some people by going to a local drama group its not the same as going down the pub or having a laugh with my best mates but i still talk to them on the phone and with facebook. I hope you will start to find some new people too and maybe you will be able to contact your old friends as well. But friends tend to turn up in the most unlikely places so keep lookingx

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  5. Moving to a new place is the absolute worst for me to make new friends. Unless I can take a class in something that interests me I won't meet people who are part of my tribe and even then it's like a crap shoot. I've never been one to be surrounded by a large group of friends, I tend to collect one or two good friends who I seem to really connect with and these are the friendships that stick.

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  6. Very good words today, and I feel for you. I too am living the same issue, of being far from the old crowd, and not being able to find the good new crowd. There are spells to help with making one more receptive/open to new relationships. Perhaps that is an option to try. In the meantime, take heart, you have many witchy blog friends who know what you are talking about! Hugs.

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  7. I think Witch of Stitches said it best: Our lives shift and change and the lonely times can be wonderful for us to look within ourselves. I have wonderful friends from high school and from past work experiences. We used to hang out on a daily basis, go to lunch, sleep overs, etc. I do miss these girly times. But, life pulled us apart for whatever reasons. I'm FB friends with most and, I think we all have the understanding that we are still connected but, we have busy lives. I only know you from your posts but, you seem to be a very open person. If you are open to new friendships they will come in time. It may take awhile but be patient. And, again take this time for yourself to look within. Your bloggy friends will always be here too!

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  8. *HUGS*
    I'm glad you have things to distract you from these 'what ifs'. I wish I could drop by for a pint or coffee... or both... ^-^

    And I would totally clean your house while I was there... =D

    Perhaps someday if I ever make it over to your neck of the woods, I'll be able to do just that.

    For now, though, try to keep your 'what ifs' at bay with happy memories from the past & also imagine what wonderful friends are waiting for you in your future. I know they're out there, just waiting to find & be found by you. ^-^

    xoxo

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  9. There are so many friends I've let go of, maybe we've let go of each other which weighs me down as a heart-loss like you experience. I could get lost in the "what-if's" in so many levels, not just about friends. And I don't think we can force ourselves to erase the sadness, as much as it is to acknowledge the small deaths we all have, the loss of friendships, the giving up of dreams, etc...Thank you so much, Danni for sharing such a vulnerable part of yourself that happens when we love another, esp. friends.

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  10. I wonder every once in a while too, about old friends. I think as you get older, you start to realize that those who are still in your life are meant to be - because they 'fit' who you are and are becoming. I think all our friendships are a part of our journey - some just stay for a longer ride.

    I hope you can meet some people out there (a meetup group, perhaps?) Maybe at your craft show - people of like mind and talent, and all that.

    Now if I had just won the lottery last night, I could fly down for your show and have a drink with ya. Blasted numbers!

    Hugs!

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  11. I moved A LOT as a kid, and I'm terrible at keeping in touch. Combine those and you can see why I might have gone through quite a few friends too. I try writing to them sometimes, but I'll never recapture a friendship exactly the same as it was years ago.

    I'd have to agree with a few other people - join a group of some kind. Bellydancers? We're totally awesome! :P Roller derby girls - also fun. :) You'll find someone you get along with. Then it will be back to game nights in no time.

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  12. I have always lived in the same place.....but I have had many friends over the years come in my life and move away. One friend in particular has hurt the worst. We were closer than I ever thought two people could be and then she moved across the country.....and slowly our friendship faded away....and now I hardly ever hear from her....even when I am the one to make contact first....it is very hurtful....and I wonder "what if" often. I am now slowly accepting the fact that our lives have moved into a different season.

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  13. Oh Danni, this post really struck a nerve with me. I can totally empathise with what you're saying. Over the years I've had so many wonderful souls pass in and out of my life, many of whom I would so love to meet up with again. There were two girls in particular who I used to live with in college and who I often regretted not keeping in better contact with. Then, out of the blue, one of them turned up on my doorstep one day. She'd gone through a really hard time since I'd last seen her and that morning she just decided she needed a friend, got in her car and drove the many hours to my house. It was pretty darn wonderful. I see her regularly now. The other girl I still haven't seen in years, and she had her first baby recently and everything. I really have to do something about it now- this post has really hit that home! As for my other friends, the close ones who I grew up with are all scattered around the globe now, but we try and all meet up at least once a year. It's not enough though. I too love my man to bits and adore sitting in with him, but we all need our own lives too. I have a pub quiz I go too every second week and it's just the perfect release. I've made loads more friends through it as well. Maybe you could find some sort of outlet like that? If you didn't want to go by yourself you could bring himself the first couple of times until you get to know some people and then leave him at home once you get settled in! All you need to realise is that there are so many other people out there in the same situation. I think it's just part of this shitty thing called growing up. Either way, anyone would be blessed to have you as a friend and if they could only meet you they'd realise that. And sure in the meantime you always have us blog buddies! Thanks for this post, by the way, as I said it's woken me up to a few home truths.
    Roisin x

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