Continuing my Love Project series I'm now going to move on to friendship. This will be quite a personal post which makes me nervous but I'm going to have a go at writing a more revealing one!
Friendship is a bit of a difficult one for me. I've had a complicated time with friends over the years. When I was at first (primary) school I had several friends. One of them moved to Sheffield about the end of Year 3 (I was 8). Another one moved to the Isle of Man. They both had the same name actually!
Then I moved to middle school and made more friends there. In Year 7 (ages 11-12) my best friend at the time (my oldest friend) seemed to turn on me and acted weird towards me. Also at the end of Year 7 another friend moved to Bedfordshire. I really didn't like school in general then because I was bullied and I hated going. I often had days off because I just couldn't cope with going, so I was relieved when middle school finished for good.
I was nervous about going to secondary school but it was better than middle school, I wasn't really picked on anymore. I was even in a class with some of the kids who had teased me before but they were ok now! I made new friends and things got better with my old friend although they weren't quite the same. I made a new best friend as well. But towards the end of Year 9 (ages 13-14) she turned on me as well. She stopped speaking to me almost overnight and I never knew why. She didn't want to sit next to me or anything, turned away and stuck her fingers in her ears if I tried to speak to her! It was devastating. It really hurt me and I just couldn't understand why she didn't want to be my friend anymore. I knew that she had personal problems and I tried to understand but I just couldn't understand why she took it out on me. My grandad had died the autumn before and I just couldn't cope with school anymore, so I left at 14.
After that my depression got bad and I also got OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). I think it started when I was still at school but it didn't get really bad until I was 16, when it got tied in with my health anxiety. I isolated myself from my old friends and people in general, I didn't go out much.
I gradually got back in touch with a couple of friends from school through letters and email/instant messenger but I was scared to see anyone. I went through a really bad time in general.
Since then things have got better. Most of my friendships these days are through belly dancing. I see my dance friends the most socially, at class and events. Most of them are older than me, about 15 to 20 years, (or more) but we get on well. I also got into penpalling in my late teens and it's been nice getting to know people that way. I've known a few of my penpals for a while, a couple for about 10 years.
So I know how important friendship can be. Good friends can really make a difference in your life. I thought I'd share about some good articles on friendship. :)
This is a good article from Celestine Chua of Personal Excellence on making new friends and the different types of friends you have in your life: http://personalexcellence.co/blog/new-friends/
I have mostly "Hi-Bye" friends and regular friends.
Another one on having best friends: http://personalexcellence.co/blog/best-friends/
And one more PE article about making friends when you have social anxiety: http://personalexcellence.co/blog/social-anxiety/
Then here is an article from the psychic Michele Knight on treating friendships with the importance we treat love relationships. I agree that they do tend to fall by the wayside sometimes because of the emphasis that culture (at least in the West) puts on romantic relationships. Michele mentions how the end of a friendship can be as traumatic as the end of a romantic relationship. Check it out here: http://www.micheleknight.com/articles/soul-mate/soul-relationship-wisdom-why-we-need-to-treat-friendships-like-all-other-relationships/
I hope you find these links useful. :) There was another post I read a while ago about grieving when a friendship ends but I can't find it now. I'll update this if I do. :)
How has your friendship journey been? Do you find it easy to make friends?
P.S. If you also have anxiety or related disorders here's a post I did last year on anxiety resources: