Friendships they say are one of the most important relationships you have; only second to the one you have with yourself. And after a somewhat disastrous last year, I realised I have only a handful of true friends to my name. There is Tash, whom I met on my first day of secondary school, and who I call upon in every hour of need; Jodie, who for all intent and purpose I have declared my soul mate on various occasions – we laugh, we cry, we fight but always make-up; Rosie, who I have shared almost every aspect of my life with but who I rarely see and Chess – whom it is safe to say that I’ve had my ups and downs with over the years, but has always been by my side.
It strikes me as weird that there are so few. Is there something wrong with me? But perhaps there is some destructive pattern to my friendships: I compare myself constantly to my female acquaintances and am often too full of self-doubt to allow real friendships to blossom, constantly apologising for the person I am and not the person I feel they want me to be.
During my first term of university, when people were making life-long bonds with one another, I was never quite there. Perhaps because I was in a tense long-distance relationship and every weekend was spent with my boyfriend, rather than the friends I was supposed to making. Even now, almost eighteen months later, my weekends aren’t spent at the pub with people I go to uni with; rather it’s spent at home with the boyfriend or the friends I went to school with.
That’s not to say I don’t have friends at university. I do, and a select few of the girls I share a house with have become some of my closest confidents. When I have boyfriend troubles there are no other people in the world I’d rather share my stories with, or get blindingly drunk with after good coursework results. But for the most part there aren’t endless late-night conversations about the tragedies of last year, or about the person I used to be.
But then again, this is partially to do with the long periods of time I don’t spend with them. It’s not that I don’t like spending time at the house, I do, it is just that the time I do spend there is usually spent laying around in bed watching TV, doing work or spent in some club somewhere getting drunk and dancing till the wee hours.
And then again it is also partially to do with my clamminess. I don’t know what the technical term is here, but I have always been described as a clam – I clam up and not let people in easily. I don’t give my trust away without difficulty and so therefore I find it hard to talk to people about how I feel.
And this is not a good trait when you live in a house of six. If you want to spend a few days away, and you are not constantly in the midst of the drama – be it watching a film, gossiping, planning a trip somewhere , then you are almost certainly left out. Of course this is not on purpose, and the closer of my uni friends would dismiss this idea as nonsense.
I don’t want sympathy for this – my friends both at uni and at home are marvellous and I am very lucky to have met such a diverse group of people. But I guess my unwillingness to talk about anything deeper than boy trouble has scathed my friendships in some way.
So maybe it’s my own fault that my close circle of friends is so small, and so far away? Maybe my own apprehensions and concerns about the friendships I have have made me the way I am. And maybe I should learn not to care about that one person who makes it obvious not to care and just learn to allow the good relationships to form at their own pace. And if not? Then it’s time to move on, and move out of that house.