Do you remember your first best friend? I do. We were in grade 1, and I’d just moved back to South Africa. I don’t remember exactly what happened, but our friendship lasts to this day. I don’t see her much these days, as we live in separate cities, a couple of times a year, but whenever either of us are in the other’s town (she’ll be in CT more often than I’ll be in Joberg) we’ll meet up.
Do you ever see on Facebook those people who are friends with the same group of friends from High School? I always have a little bit of a laugh. On the one hand I think it’s really sweet, and really nice.But sometimes also a little strange. Out of my group of friends in High School, I don’t think I see any of them anymore. Not because of any fall outs, but they’ve all moved elsewhere. Are you still friends with the same crowd from High School? I wonder what keeps certain groups together after so many years. What is it that doesnt change, or do they all “change” in the same direction?
I’m happy to say that I haven’t “lost” any friends. I’ve never had such a fall out with someone that I can say “I used to have this friend” and only have nasty things to say about a relationship gone unfortunately sour. Anyone I’m not friends, or in touch with anymore, is mainly because of distance. Sometimes when you don’t see each other anymore in the environment that first brought you together, you just tend to go your own way. And I truly believe that’s perfectly ok. Sometimes the things that bring us together, won’t always keep you together. Yet distance won’t always separate friends. You’ll have friends you don’t see for months, or years, and still consider one of your closest. It might range from the weekly Skype call, to whatsapp conversations or even sporadic emails.
I have so many of these friends. My best friend from primary school is one of them. My friend in Joberg who came down for my wedding, who I’ll only have seen once before celebrating her wedding later this year. A handful of close friends who have moved to live in Joberg. A friend from school living in Israel, who isn’t so good technologically and we send each other an email every other month to catch up. A friend from New Zealand who I Skype a couple of times a year. My friend in Sydney who came for my wedding, and is currently updating me via whatsapp on the plans for hers. Too many friends in Israel. Too many. It’s tough having so many close friends scattered across the world. Not knowing when you’ll see them again is literally soul destroying.
It’s starting to sound bad isn’t it? That I have so many friends far away. It’s hard. But thankfully, every year that friends have left (it’s been too frequent to count) we land up making new friends, so you don’t feel as lonely. It’s like an ebb and flow of the sea. Being married, husbands are awesome company. But they’re really not the same as your girl friends.
I find it so funny how since school has ended I’ve bumped into so many former classmates. So many who were in my grade since grade 7, that I mostly never spoke to all the way up to matric. Your inner 17 year old thinks it’ would be so awkward, but seriously, High School was so 6 years ago. We’re all adults now. I’ve landed up working with two people from school. Another was the HR manager at a job I was applying for. I bumped into someone at a wedding last week, and I reconnected with another over twitter. And none of these encounters were awkward in the slightest.
Twitter. I’ve found it so wonderful how “twitter” friends, can become your actual friend. To date I’ve met two people who originally I met on twitter. I’d consider them friends. I’m sure if I met more of these people in real life, they’d become my friends too. People on Facebook don’t understand how the local twitter “community”, if I may call it that, is just that – a community. It’s not a bunch of weirdos who sit and live on their computer. Who knows, maybe it’s just my industry and interests. And the blogging community. I’ve recently become fascinated by the concept of communities, and how they can form over something so seemingly random. Like covering your hair. I know, right? But through my 365 project, and some groups on Facebook it’s like I’ve discovered another world of people who feel like my friends.
For me, it was refreshing to get out of High School and making new friends. That’s probably because I came from a Jewish school. At university people were all so different, yet brought together by their interests and their choices of study. My friends from university all hold such a special place in my heart. Most I haven’t seen in years, some since my wedding, or even graduation. I’ve bumped into a few in and around Cape Town. How can you forget the friends that you spent hours in the sun on Jammie steps, had you laughing through 1st year English or got you through some boring lectures. I miss my one friend, who we’d have wonderful discussions about life and our respective religions, the type of conversation that really enriches your soul. She flew in for the day for our wedding, and it hurts me that I can’t return the favour to be at hers. Though it’s been years since seeing these people, I know if I had an afternoon with them, the conversation would never stop flowing.
Naturally, the people you spend the most time with are also ones that you’re likely to develop friendships with. My parents always tell me how lucky I am to have had such great colleagues. Colleagues that become friends. One of my closest friends, started out as a colleague. I definitely saw more of her in an average day than I saw Greg, and I didn’t even mind so much. Even since starting a new job everyone has been so lovely, and while it’s only been a short time and we haven’t hung out outside of work, as time goes by, I could definitely see this happening. I really felt this the other day when I bumped into a guy I used to work with. It was just so nice to see him.
Sometimes it feel like all my closest friends are leaving. 2 of my friends are moving this week (and more to come), and while sometimes it’s pretty easy enough to get caught in the downward spiral of misery wondering where all my friends have gone, I like to keep things positive by focusing on who is actually still here. I have a theory, that every year people leave, and every year new people move in to town. It’s not easy when your friends aren’t a short drive away, and you won’t replace them, but it’s nice to know you won’t be lonely. So I’m quite excited to focus more on certain friendships and nurture and cultivate them. Kind of like growing a plant (except, I really can’t do that. I’d be much better at growing friendships).
My friends, and the concept of being a good friend are both very important for me. Even though so many of my friends live so far, I feel cornily lucky to have them. May the friends and friendships you have, the friends you hardly see and the friends you’ll make in the future continue to enrich you all and make your heart as full as my friends do for me.