Thursday, 23 June 2016

LARA: FRIENDS FOR LIFE?

Reader Lara talks about her friendships over the years, any why it's only natural that friendships change and evolve...

Lara says:
My first friends were at playgroup, aged two or three. They were the kids who taught me how to share toys and biscuits... we hugged, howled, pushed each other, got mad, got sad, got happy. Two friends, Jayde and Tomasz, I saw outside of playgroup too because our families lived quite close and would take turns having everyone to their place. They were a bit like having a brother and a sister, before I actually did have siblings! When you are that age, everything is simple... you might get angry, but the row would be over in a moment, put right by a beaker of orange squash and a chocolate biscuit.

Things were harder at primary school. Neither Jayde nor Tomasz were there; Tomasz had moved by then and Jayde went to a private prep school and we stopped seeing each other gradually, because things weren't the same any more. My new best friend was Jenna, and we went everywhere together for years, until Year Four when she went off with a new girl and I was left being the 'third wheel' with my other friends Maya and Suranne. They were great, but I was always the extra one, and I didn't always get included in sleepovers or days out. I had another friend, Isabelle, from Brownies, but although we got on brilliantly she lived in a village outside of town so I didn't see her outside of Brownies. I think I went through the last two years of primary with a fake plastic smile fixed onto my face, pretending everything was fine when it wasn't. I was both terrified and so desperate to get to secondary school.

Secondary school does shake things up. You make new friends whether you like it or not, and you have a far wider pool of friends to pick from. Suranne went to a different school so Maya and I were close to begin with, but we added new friends to our group, Ana, Lisette, Kate, Roz and a boy called Dezzy. We are all really close now (Year Nine) and I cannot imagine my life without them. Each of them has taught me different things... patience, kindness, curiosity, courage, determination, staying power and lots more. You can never judge a person, you have to really get to know them, and we have been through some challenging stuff too - parents divorcing, a stepmum, a grandparent dying, one of us coming out as gay (Dezzy) and coping with new baby sisters (me!). I hope I will always have these friends, because although we are not the 'cool' group or the 'clever' group or anything like that, we have SO much fun and we are always there for each other.

I am grateful to all the friends I have had along the way, and excited to meet the ones who will be part of my future, because all of them are a part of my journey.

Illustration by Cathy Cassidy

Cathy says:
I love this... I could not have put it better, Lara! What better way to celebrate your friendships than to enter this year's MY BEST FRIEND ROCKS comp? What are you waiting for? And COMMENT BELOW to tell us about YOUR friends, too!

3 comments:

  1. My friends are amazing, took me until adulthood to find a good bunch. But they are awesome <3 xxx

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  2. My friends are my cats. I had friends in school but my primary school friends either moved away or drifted apart when I went into secondary school a year ahead of them (it didn't help that their parents hated me. I don't know why because I was small and blonde and extremely polite but I was "a bad influence" and wasn't allowed to visit my friends). My secondary school friends lasted a bit longer - I was still friends with a girl I met at the end of S1 by my second year of college. Well, I thought I was but it turned out she couldn't wait to get away from me and I was the last to know so I just cut off all contact with her. I do have one friend who I'm quite close to but I can't get too attached because my friends have a habit of disappearing from my life. We meet up occasionally and I buy her things and let her know she can always talk to me in the hope that she won't decide I'm useless but I was the same with other friends who cut me out of their lives so who knows? I'm sort of friends with her girlfriend by extension but we've never met up by ourselves, we just hang around as a group. But my cats are definitely my closest friends. They love me. They won't decide they hate me after a couple of years. We're a pack. Plus they're cute and fluffy which is a bonus!

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  3. I understand what you mean Lara. I had a very two-faced friend in primary school who loved me one day and the next day was just like... "You're so stupid why are you still here?" She never used those exact words or anything, but that was the sentiment behind her actions. Thankfully, I don't need her anymore. She's still I my year and some of my classes but we hardly ever talk. @anonymous: a few weeks ago I would have told you that not everyone is like that and that the more you tech out to someone the more they reach back. Don't be distant, and don't attempt to prove your worth with money or support. They're both good things, but you shouldn't need them. A true friend will be your friend because they like you, and not because you buy them things.
    However, now I'm not so sure. My best friend effectively text-dumped me a while ago and it sucked. It still does. I miss her terribly, we were so close, she knew me better than anyone. But she decided that I wasn't good enough for her. My personality gave her problems apparently. I still don't know what to make of it. It makes me worried about my friendship group and what will happen, because it was very much built around me and her. I don't want it to fall apart. I don't want people to have to choose between me and her because we can't talk to each other anymore. I don't know what's going to happen.
    The only advice I've gotten from family is that I don't need friends who stab me in the back. But I didn't think she would ever do that. I was never a part of her personality or how she treated me. She was never like my primary school friend. We were so so close, and it's killing me, because I thought we were still close. But apparently. We weren't.
    It also sucks that she ditched me by text. I was over the other side of the country when it happened. She didn't even have the strength to do it face to face.
    I don't know what to think.

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