Tuesday 20 August 2019

Here's to the forgotten friends

For as long as I can remember, I've been that extra friend. The 'me and X are doing... do you want to come, don't worry if not' friend. I had a 'best' one in nursery and until about year 3 or 4. My friendship group expanded and hers did too.. at the other end of the playground. We grew up with our parents being friends, dance lessons together and saturdays out shopping. But come year 7 and 8, we didn't bother asking for each others phone numbers anymore and that was sort of it. Her friends dressed like they were 18 or 19 and I had a unibrow and didn't leave the house unless my socks touched my skirt hem. We were VERY different people. 

I sat next to MY best friend form year 7-11. I say MY because I wasn't hers. She made that very clear. We all have friends outside of school, she just liked hers more than me. Which is fine of course. We grew up and I took her to every family party and every special thing I ever did. In year 10 or so we had this extra friend who'd joined the small group, and it was them and me. Which was fine, of course. But when her family had special parties and things, it wasn't me invited along, it was her. I was told "you can come next time" and when the next time came I was told "oh mum choose" or "it was last minute". Which was fine. Of course. 

That other friend left in year 11 and I had my mate back, sort of. We went to sixth form and in one class we made pals with the girls in there, and sort of everyone really. I loved that class I really did. On my 18th our teacher didn't turn up so we all spent two hours in mcdonalds and they sang happy birthday and I had gifts and it's sad to think that that was so long ago now, the happiest time of my school life. But things change and history repeats itself with one of the girls always being closer to her than me and once again it was "meet US" for lunch and then "X has got me a job with her" and that truly was that. By the end of year 13 I was seeing someone so vile and manipulative and with him pulling me one way and her being pulled the other, we had nothing left in the middle. We'd look the other way at lunch and had our second ever argument without even speaking to each other. But it was fine because of course she had her friends and eventually I had no one. 

I'm qualified as a practitioner in something that deals with brain development and cognitive behaviour and it's scientifically proven that the behaviour we experience as children aged 8,9 and 10 will be experienced again at ages 18,19 and even up to 25 (and I'm sure far into adulthood too). So the cliqiness of children in the playground, the purposeful targeting of someone, and the pain of being pushed out, will always reoccur. A few years ago I met a fab group of girls who I'm still friends with now. We did everything together but then one branches out and the rest are forgotten. You'd go out with one person, and they'd bring a friend, and you'd be the one to stand there like a loner whilst they chat and catch up and you'd wish you'd never even mentioned or planned this at all. 

I don't have a best friend. All my friends have other friends. However I do have a two or so groups of friends, some I'm closer to than others, but how do you work on being their best friend at the ripe age of 22? How far can you push friendship on someone without looking weird? That's the question. So for now I'm ok with being the forgotten friend, the extra one to fill numbers, it's always been this way and I'm now more prepared to deal with it when it inevitably happens again. I think friends can break your heart more than boys can. But alas that's fine, of course. 


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