Thoughts on friendship

So what has inspired or interested me this last week? What things have I wondered about?

Friendship has cropped up a few times this week. Seeing an old friend I’d not seen in a while, hearing news of other friends and acquaintances through social media and mutual acquaintances. Sorting through some old letters and coming across people and situations I’d totally forgotten about. An article in a Sunday magazine about making new friends.

It reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend’s mum at her hen night, almost 10 years ago. She was saying that in her experience, some friends come and go, and some are always there, even if they disappear for a while as life presents challenges for them to deal with by themselves. And over time I’ve come to see that she was right, and that seeing friendship in a long-term context provides a new perspective.

Those work friends you see day in day out, but the moment you don’t work with them, you never hear from them. The maternity leave friends you lost touch with once you all went back to work. All people you shared experiences with, but you no longer need each other. But when you did need them, or they needed you, there was a place for them. So instead of being sad that I don’t keep in touch with them, I could choose to be happy that I knew them for a period of time.

The friends who’ve been there forever – since school days or university perhaps. Our lives follow different timelines and patterns, but we always come back to each other’s company to catch up. Whether every month, year or couple of years. And sometimes we’re going through similar things, which holds us together more closely for a while.

At the moment I’m working part-time from home with a remote team. And spending two days a week amusing a young toddler, often by myself.

Even as an introvert who likes a quiet space to work, it can be lonely sitting in front of a computer by myself all day, just as it can be isolating being a mum sometimes. Much as I’ve benefited from the online and connected world, I find it holds less attraction for me when I don’t have that daily face to face contact with other people. Which means that maintaining friendships and other networks is especially important to me at the moment, as I continue to adjust to my new world of motherhood, and to find the best way to work. So I’m taking opportunities to get out and meet people when I can.

It’s not just friends that contribute to my sense of feeling connected to the outside world. It’s my work networks, it’s my involvement in the local community, and in other informal groups and meetups.

I suspect with the trends in modern society and technology, I’m not the only one who feels a need to get out and meet others in “real life” and to make sure I’m keeping connected to the outside world.

A lone daffodil in our garden, doing its daffodil thing far away from the other daffodils that are all together in one clump.

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