Tuesday, 15 May 2018

When friendships f*ck up + how to cope with loneliness



Truthfully, friendships are something I've struggled with in my twenties. There have been so many friendships that have seemed to have had so much potential yet burnt out. Friendships that I'm guilty of not putting enough effort into, friendships I've been too distrustful to carry on for fear of getting hurt like I did back in college. Friendships that have fizzled out naturally on their own. A few online friendships where suddenly the other person has (Lost interest? Been too busy? Not wanted to carry on with it?) For a million reasons why, they seem to have finished with the friendship on their own accord and perhaps I'm too sensitive but it does hurt. Messages have become shorter and shorter, lesser and lesser. One day they just stop altogether. Disheartening, when, let's face it - a true friendship had seemed to bloom at the start with the promise of it looking fairly long-lasting. 

It's both shocking and comforting to know that so many of us are in the same boat. The online world has been reassuring in other people's revelations; I've seen many people talking about how they've struggled to make or maintain friendships in their twenties. It seems so many of us feel alone, or at least feel the loneliness that not having as many female friends as we might like weighs us down from time to time. 

When friendships go horribly wrong 
A while back I met up with a girl I'd got chatting to online. The whole night was a total disaster, from me feeling awkward, paranoid everything I said was wrong, to it ending in panic attacks and a few weeks of low self-esteem on my part. Afterwards I messaged said girl and confessed about my panic attacks, told her it was lovely to meet her (it wasn't, but, you know, being polite), yet this was met with no reply and various unfollows on social media afterwards, which said it all, really. She also wrote something about me online afterwards which insinuated that I wasn't much like I was on my blog. Whether meant intentionally or not, it knocked my confidence a fair bit and made me doubt myself for a few weeks afterwards. A little later, it suddenly hit me that I didn't give a shit about whether she liked me or not. The evening we'd met I had come straight from work in rubbishy clothes, feeling harassed and anxious and no - I probably wasn't anything like how I looked/seemed on my blog. But I was still kind, nice, I still tried my best. Thankfully I have nothing to do with this person now, nor would I want to, either. It was a horrible night, but it made me realise that I don't ever have to apologise for who I am. If people don't like us, then it's their problem, not ours. I've struggled a lot with new friendships in the past, I always feel like I'm putting on an act. Like I can never really be myself with a friend. Not until I can trust myself that I won't get hurt again, like I have in the past.

Often I've felt "not good enough" or that I don't live up to the girl people see and expect from this blog when I've met people in real life. Only recently have I lost this mentality, and realised I'm still the same person. I need to stop putting myself down. In the past few years, I've noticed a shift in my attitude. I've stopped pretending to be someone I'm not and it's easier and more natural to simply be "me." Personally for me, reaching my late twenties has naturally caused my confidence to shift and I'm settled and more sure of who I am. With friendships and with life. 

I don't want many friends 
Contradicting myself completely, I don't want many friends. In my partner I really have found my soulmate. I have some lovely friends who I will always cherish, and I want to stress that this post isn't trying to diminish the precious friendships I am lucky to have - offline and online. I like spending lots of my time alone, it's often vital. BUT if I'm being honest, there are times when I feel loneliness hit, and it's a horrible feeling. I feel more alone than ever, with no one to turn to. The main character in my novel, "Shea", goes through a lot of times when she really needs to call someone and feels she has no one to turn to. She realises a lot of her friends don't really know what's going on with her, and if she were to call them she wouldn't quite know where to start. Something we all go through, I'm sure. And just like a family she doesn't fit into, a hometown she hates and the loneliness she often goes through - these situations have been drawn from my feelings and experiences an awful lot. 

I read an article by a woman recently who wanted to throw a party for her 30th birthday but felt she had no one to invite. She said she'd love a friend to just grab a coffee and cake with on a regular basis and I knew what she meant. There's a fine line though, as often friendships leave me exhausted. I can't cope with clingy friends, the type who want to see you 24/7. I just can't do that. But a balance would be great. Sometimes I find myself doing more listening than talking. Occasionally I just want to offload to someone. For someone to say "You're not okay, are you?" and realise there's something wrong. 


Past friendships that have fizzled out 
In the past as friendships have been fizzling out I've been torn between "I should really be trying to keep this friendship going, it'll be a shame if it ends" and "If they're not making the effort back, why should I keep bothering?" Usually the latter wins, after a few attempts to revive things. At 28 I'm not going to waste my time bothering with someone who can't even return the favour and obviously doesn't care for a friendship. I deserve better than that. Even on my worst days, I know I'm a kind friend who is more often than not the listener rather than the talker. Sadly this has often meant I've been someone friends have used to pick up when they want to burden me with their problems and drop like a hot brick when they fancy. It seems to be a regular occurrence, but I, like you, deserve better than that. 

So, when friendships f*ck up, just how do we deal?
  • Realise that these so-called "friends" don't deserve you. If they've caused you hurt and the friendship really is at the end of the road, then it's paving the way for better friendships to bloom in the future. You deserve better. Remember to boost yourself up and remind yourself of all your good qualities instead of listing all the negatives the friendship has made you feel. 
  • It's okay to feel hurt, betrayed, bitter, angry - don't bottle those feelings up. But once you've had time to get over the pain, try and keep a clear head and see it as a fresh start. 
  • Remind yourself you are not alone. So many friendships go wrong, and sometimes there isn't even a clear cut reason. Drifting apart, not bothering to stay in touch, being too busy... all of these reasons can cause a friendship to naturally end. Try and remain as positive as possible. 
  • Focus on the good friends you DO have. For every person that can't be bothered, there will always be one who can be. Spend time on yourself and with the people who do cherish you. 
  • See this as a new chapter - people leave your life for a reason. Mostly it's fate playing its part. 
  • Pour your time into YOU - focus on what it is that makes you happy. You are your #1. 

Top tips for casting out loneliness 
  • Reach out to a good friend, your partner, a family member, anyone - and express how you feel. A lot of people seem "too busy" or "not the right person to speak to" but how do you know unless you try? We can often feel angry and isolated when people don't ask how we are, or fail to realise when something is wrong (yep, I can be like this!) But we need to realise however much the friends/close family members/people in our lives should be asking how we are, often they aren't mind-readers and if something really is wrong, they won't know unless we tell them. 
  • Do something you enjoy; whether it be a solo trip to Starbucks, reading out in the garden, a bit of an online shopping spree or watching a good movie with a slab of chocolate. Anything! 
  • Approved online forums can be a great way of talking to new people if you're feeling a bit lonely. Obviously it goes without saying to make sure they are safe and not dodgy ones. Most people are in the same boat and are approachable and friendly. When I was 18 I joined the Channel 4 forum that ran for Big Brother. They eventually shut the forum down and started a new one but at the time it felt like a life-saver. My confidence was at an all time low and I found it hard to talk to people in everyday life. I was pleasantly surprised by how sweet everyone was and it actually built my confidence in general, giving me the boost I needed to start turning my life around. 
  • You can always message me via twitter or email. Even if we haven't spoken before and you just need someone to talk to. It's important to know you really aren't alone, even if it feels like it. 



If none of the above are viable and you're feeling lonely and need someone to talk to, please consider calling a helpline. This Morning have provided a brilliant list of loneliness helplines.  Once again, you're not alone, even if you may feel it. 

🧚‍♀️

22 comments:

  1. I love your insightful blog posts, I relate to this on so many levels x

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  2. This is such an interesting post sweet one and I can relate to a lot of what you've said! Sometimes I have let friendships fizzle out due to distance etc, or just changing interests and other friends have moved on from me, and honestly, I don't have any negative feelings towards them and I'd still be happy to talk to them now even if only for a short while ♥ I also completely get where you're coming from with the need to spend time alone, I am very introverted and I don't think I could cope with having a large circle of friends at all! Thank you so much for writing such a helpful post sweet Sophie! ♥♥♥

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  3. Sophie! Relating so much to this. I can be so shit at maintaining friendships, when I was ill I was always flakey (well it wasn’t me, it was the illness haha) which I know pissed people off. It also sucks big time how adult life just gets in the way of hanging out with pals like you could as teens!
    That girl sounds really unpleasant, as someone who has met you in real life I think you’re just as sparkly and sassy as you are in here and I love spending time with you. I have two weeks left of uni then I’m free for the summer, I’ll be getting in touch to arrange a catch up for sure. In the meantime you know my DMs/emails/texts whatever are always there if you wanna chat any time - you’re never alone gal! Lots of love xox

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  4. Another beautifully written and relatable post Sophie. I couldn't agree more and sometimes when I see groups of girls out together all the time I can feel hurt and a bit bitter that it's never been for me. Then I realise that after a while it becomes choice to stick to the few friends you know are great and that you can trust. I love that you've found your soulmate in Graham and it's lovely to have a best friend as well as boyfriend. Fab post lovely lady xxx

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  5. A very relatable article on so many levels. The writing is wonderful and you showed some real vulnerability and authenticity here, which is so brave. Thank you, because we have all felt this way, and knowing we're not alone helps...

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  6. This post resonates with me so much. A lot of my friends have got families / relationships and don’t really have much time to spare anymore. I try chatting online but find people don’t seem to take it seriously or just lose interest. Definitely disheartening if you’ve met and seem to get on well then they just blank you. You’re right though those people are really not worth my time and effort ��
    Http://www.glitzandglamourmakeup.co.uk

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  7. Friendship is something special in our lives - I mean this real kind of them. I have met my best friend when I was a kid and since that day we always can count on each other. The most valuable people mostly we met accidentally and they are staying in our lifes and hearts

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  8. Hello,

    Oh, perfect !

    Sarah, http://www.sarahmodeee.fr/

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  9. Hey, just wanted to say how clear you write and how easy it is to relate to what you say on various articles on your blog is so good to read. some of the subjects you write about must be very emotive for you and bring back old feelings but how you deal with situations and think about life is very inspiring, keep up the great content of your blog! :)

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  10. I love that you made this post and I love how you let people reach out to you if they're feeling lonely or alone, I think feeling truly alone is one of the worst feelings in the world. I know when I feel that way that it's usually because I'm at my absolute lowest. Since I've gotten older I think it's a lot harder to make friends as well, I try to remind myself that you're never too old to make new long lasting friends, but sometimes it just feels like that'll never happen!

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

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  11. Such a great post! When I was younger I had many 'friends', but when I met my husband some of them tried to destroy our relationship because of jealousy of my happiness. Life itself verified who was a real friend and who was not. Now my best friend is my husband and some persons which did not disappoint me in crisis situations and I think it's enough.

    jointyicroissanty

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  12. Sophie, I don't think I've ever related to a post so much. I lost friends during my time at sixth form, with fault on both parts, and then, whilst I gained friends and a best friend/boyfriend at university, I grew apart from people at home. I'm glad I've almost reached a point where I don't feel as guilty anymore, but sometimes, it just hits you all at once. Wanting to be liked by everyone means there's such a pressure to always made the effort - even if they don't. I think it's easy to get worked up in your own head sometimes, and it's important to take a step back. That said, I'm so so with you that I don't need that many friends, purely because I'm rubbish at distributing my time and simply long for my own space. You're so right about valuing the people you have and reminding yourself of the wonderful friendships that don't need constant communication or updates 24/7 to be valid - the best friendships are the ones that feel like home. Sending all the love your way.

    //teandtwosugars.blogspot.com xx

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  13. Friends come and go, but the real ones surely stay. I speak for everyone when I say we have won and lost many of them, but life still goes on. I used to beat myself so much and drove myself into depression when I lost a friend when I was young, but as a grown up, I have come to realise that we really don't need too many friends. A few is all we need. Ha!!
    Great insightful post, beautiful. Thanks for the tips. Definitely agree with the pointers.

    https://www.missymayification.co.uk

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  14. Hi beautiful, let it be. Real friendship happens effortlessly. Love your tips here. Real friends are rare so it is not about the amount of friends but the quality. If people don't like you it is their problem not yours. Love yourself and continue being you. Have a great day xoxo Cris
    http://photosbycris.blogspot.com.au/2018/03/fashion-in-mountains.html

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  15. I'm so sorry to hear about your unfortunate experience of meeting a friend online - what a pity she couldn't have been a little more understanding! I love your positivity in this post Sophie and agree with so much of what you've said. Making 'serious' friendships in your 20's sure can be difficult, but it just makes it all the more special when you meet someone you truly get on with! :) Hope you're having a lovely week so far...

    aglassofice.com x

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  16. Friendship is a funny thing! I think a lot of us struggle with it and I for one have had my fair share of "friendships" that have ended up making me miserable - being the person burdened with other people's problems and then forgotten about later is definitely something I can relate to. These days I prefer to spend time with the handful of true friends who I know really care about me. Loving all your tips, especially realising you're not alone as I know this happens to so many of us. x

    Kate Louise Blogs

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  17. I'm sorry to hear about your experiences with that person, it's a bit harsh that you didn't even get a reply when you reached out. But at the same time I'm definitely with you there that sometimes it just isn't worth putting your time in, when you've already made an effort many times. Also, as for those people who just use you when they need someone to listen to their problems, again I think that reflects more on them as a person. It is a shame when old friendships fade, but sometimes you just have to keep going forward x

    Velvet Blush

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  18. Wow, can't believe that girl you met online did all that after you met! I can see why it hurt you. I agree with what you said about talking over your feelings of loneliness with someone you trust, it can do a world of wonders for your mental health and well being. Also seeking therapy to resolve leftover unwanted feelings from negative past experiences is super beneficial. For me, I'm someone who has gone through trauma and that in itself can damage many of the current relationships and those to come because your mind plays tricks on who or what to trust. So I definitely understand why it's hard to trust new friendships. I'm glad you are starting to care less about who likes or doesn't like who you are. It is really more about them and it's just not meant to be. The world is constantly sending us messages, there is something brighter coming your way for sure! Much love Sophie, and thanks for your openness and honestly. It was so good to read!

    xoxo,
    Tania
    https://inspiremyfancy.com/

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  19. I can so relate to this. I dont really have much luck when it comes to friendship. But I have this one bestfriend who has being my friend for 8 years now. And although we've had our ups and downs she's the only friend I've had for that long and she's more like my only friend because I've stopped trying to find friends.
    The Glossychic

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  20. Such great relatable content. I feel like this all of the time! I love my alone time, and reaching out to my small handful of friends every now and again. I'm comfortable being alone, but sometimes I do feel lonely. Making friends have always been a terrible experience for me,

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  21. This post is really beautiful and it can be related in so many ways. Friendships comes and go whether we like it or not and yeah it sucks when the friendship is cut but we always meet new people and some of them becomes friends.

    www.brokebutflawless.com

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  22. Really insightful and relatable post. I realize that how the number of friends I had in school and college decreased drastically by the time I started working. And right now, in my thirties, I can't make friends as easily as I used to make earlier. Thankfully, I can count on a few friends who have stuck with me for over two decades.

    Thanks for sharing the post.

    Love,
    Anjali
    https://www.laughingmirror.com/

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