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What I Learnt About Friendships Lately

'Friends are the family you choose'. 

Friendships are just like any other relationship - they require work. The older I get, the more I realise it. In primary school, you learn the foundations of a good friendship, in middle school and high school you step it up a notch and reinforce those basics while facing new challenges sprinkled with hormones, so once you leave university part of you does believe you pretty much have it nailed down. Aren't you wrong. 

Leaving the bubble of education brings you a whole other learning curve - adulthood. Jobs, taxes, bills, stress and to top it off, you need to excel in a career, drink your 3 litres of water a day and never forget to text anyone back. 

Every friendship is different, just like the people in it, and that teaches you many lessons when it comes to keeping things tight and working out any obstacle along the way - from communication, distance and changes through years. 

I've learnt a lot especially after graduating and starting 'life' and I've got to admit, sometimes the most valuable lessons have come from a place of pain and disappointment. They somehow help you open up your eyes are realise you cannot view the world through rose tinted glasses. 

With this in mind, I thought I would share some pearls of wisdom I collected in recent years which I am sure will grow in number as I get older. 

Just like most things in life - quality is better than quantity. 
My nan told me that you can count your best friends in one hand. It is very rare that you have more than a handful of people you can classify as 'best mates'. You know, the type who will pick up the phone to call you, check up on you, help you any way they can, find time to lift you up from any foul moods and rough patches. 
I can certainly say that is true, at least for me. You will go through tough times in life and those will be the people who will have your back. In friendships it's not always about grabbing a drink on a Friday night or getting your nails done together but wiping your friend's tears while they ugly cry on your shoulder or brining them over home-made soup when they're ill. 

Understand people have less 'free' time. 

Don't take it personally if people don't text back straight away or make plans to meet by the end of the week. Life's a rollercoaster and sometimes anyone can have shit going on. We all need to grow and understand that each and every person has a life, has feelings and whole lot of stuff to deal with - whether they decide to share it with you or not. It won't harm to just check in and see if they're doing ok when you notice someone's not been their usual self with you lately. 

I miss the college and university days, when in between lectures you text your friend to grab a coffee, go for a cheap lunch somewhere or meet at the end of the day to rant about the classes and the obscene amount of work you have to do - yet postpone doing. 

As much as your schedule might have been packed with coursework and a part time job in some cases, you still had time for the weekly drinks (multiple times per week I should say..). Sometimes it was just nice to get together because both of you were doing nothing particularly exciting, so you would simply sit, chill and do nothing together. Even finding someone to take photos for my blog was a lot easier back then! 

Now, fast forward a couple years, it's different. The weight of responsibilities, jobs, bills and life in general simply leave you a little too drained to constantly schedule seeing people every day. Sometimes I feel guilty for not being always free but after a full day at work, I just want go to the gym for some me-time or get home to my dog, my boyfriend and get in my comfy pjs to watch The Office. You know what I mean? 

People will get back to you in due course and trust me when I say, the ones who are keen to stay in your life will certainly make the effort

This brings me to my next point...

Those who give a shit, will make the effort. 
Friendship, like any relationship, requires work. As much as people may be busy, they will find the time to at least text back or get in touch to catch up with you when their headspace is right. 

Every friendship is different as well, there's good friends I see once a year due to distance and speak to every couple of months but the vibe between us never died through the years. Every time we meet and catch up, it's like no time has passed. 

Other friendships with local gal-pals require more focus as we're all within walking distance so those are the people you text weekly and make the effort of seeing every other week for a drink, a takeaway, a gym class or a night out. 

No matter the length of time I've known someone, if I am the one who keeps chasing to meet, I eventually stop and call it a day. 

You need to learn to value your time and your efforts. If what you do isn't reciprocated then move on and you'll find the right people for your circle.

Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice...

It's good to forgive but never forget. If that person makes another mistake that greatly effects you and impacts your moods/wellbeing/ aura/ happiness then you should drop them. No one is worth your peace; whether that's a 10 year friendship or a newly formed one. Always surround yourself with people who will support you, encourage you, motivate you, push you further and those who are a point of security and joy. Trust your gut if you don't get good vibes from someone, don't bother forcing to be friends. 

Learn to set boundaries and protect your energy. 
Part of being more mature is also setting boundaries and letting people know when they've hurt your feelings or when you're not happy with the way something has been done. This is not meant to set an argument, but more of a healthy way to let someone know you're not comfortable with their actions or words so that they can be mindful of that. I find it so much better than bottling up an issue and then brewing it in for months until you eventually explode after a minor inconvenience. This has probably been a great lesson I learnt in recent years. 

Pay attention to who's cheering for you when you're doing great. 
As much as on the internet we bang on about women supporting women, it happens all too often that jealousy and bitterness take control and ruin something you thought was good. When you share any exciting news with a friend, pay attention to how they react. This will tell you lots about your friendship and their personality. Jealousy is toxic, and if someone cannot be happy for you then you don't need them in your life. 

Find friends who will call you out on your shit. 
I love to get hyped by my girls, but I respect and like even more when they're able to sit me down and call me out on something they think I should not be doing. I cannot stress enough the importance of accountability and honest feedback. As much as it may be annoying at first, I like the transparency and I respect them for looking out for me and highlighting things I may blind to. 

Friendships are a good investment. 
Living abroad in UK, away from family, means I had to create my own little bubble of trustworthy people, and in this case, it's been friends having my back and giving advice on the day to day basis. With that in mind, it's been a give and take process. Like I said earlier, it's not all about the fun drinks on a Friday night sort of vibe, sometimes it's about being on the phone for a few hours or ditching a peaceful evening in doors to spend time with them and support them through drama and heartbreak. To grow a better friendship you need to invest in it. This doesn't mean buying them out but it's nice to take time out of your day to meet up or travel to see them and find any way you can to keep up a friendship when you both live on opposite sides of the country. 

Last but not least..
Don't lose yourself and forget to make yourself a priority. 
One too many times I have focused on other people's problems so much that I neglected dealing with my own. Always find time to have take care of myself. Don't drown and get too absorbed in your friend's problems. Be there for them but also know when you have responsibilities and hobbies that require your attention. It's all about the balance and knowing when to step back and look after YOU. 


  1. LOVED the post and the topic x And of course you look gorgeous as always!

    Lisa |

  2. The things I learned about friendships, at least as it pertains to me, is once you get older, you will have 2-4 good friends, who have always been there, even though you may live far apart. I have two wonderful friends whom I rarely speak to, that would give me the shirt off their back, no questions asked.

  3. I've found that it's harder to maintain friendships the older I get, and I definitely agree in quality over quantity. I also think it's important to recognise that it's ok to have different friends for different situations. I have close friends who I can rely on always, but I also have casual friends who I catch up with every so often over coffee or a beer. We still care about each other, but there's no expectation to catch up more than a couple of times per year. As long as you have clear communication and understand the dynamic of your friendship, everyone is happy.

  4. I enjoyed reading this, I have a very small circle of friends which includes a couple of gems that make me agree with your nan! quality every time is my preferred these days!

  5. I do agree that it's way more about quantity than quality. I'd much rather have a few friends I can rely on than loads who don't care as much x

  6. I have a close circle of friends and go for the quality of friendship rather than surround myself with 100's of people. Close friends will always be there whether you see them all the time or it is months x

  7. I think your nan is very wise, and as I have grown up I know exactly what she means. I have some wonderfully close friends, but we live so far away. But then the times we do get together, they are simply perfect. Friendships can have a lot of give and take but are always worth the effort.

  8. As you step forwards in life, there are always new lessons about friendships that you will learn. Your grandma was right, usually someone can count their good friends on the fingers from one hand. These friendships should be cherished most, as they will come to you at any hour in the night when you will need help.

  9. Love your words about friendships and the "those who give a shit will make the effort" - wise words.
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  10. It is hard to juggle friends with work and kids but I think it's also possible to make good friends along the way.

  11. My mummy has just realised she was putting more effort in and getting little in return so stopped and the friendship fizzled out. Just goes to show!

  12. I've been learning this myself about friendships lately. I've stopped making effort with those who can't be bothered to reciprocate.

  13. I don't have many close friendships apart from my husband, mum and sister. Most people are just too busy now that they just don't make the effort.

  14. Don;t make too many friends

  15. Maintaining friendships is really hard, especially when you have families and work. I have a handful of friends I still see but when we do, we just pick up where we left off

  16. I definitely learnt that having 1 real friend is better than having a whole group of people you thought were your friends. I recently went through a very difficult pregnancy and a huge struggle the months after baby was born and learnt who really were my friends and I couldn't be happier for the people I have around me

  17. This is great! Quality over quantity is a must. Now I have great Fri ends around and make sure my circle is not too big xx


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