GROWING PAINS

18 September 2015

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Canal me
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Whilst I gaze out longingly into the horizon in an attempt to look thoughtful, whimsical, and ruminative all at the same time (a mean feat might I add seeing as my right side is NOT my good side, despite the subtle deception of a perfectly highlighted cheekbone and a bangin’ red lip that may cause you to think otherwise), I began to warm to the idea of a ‘reflections’ type of blog post. In fact, I was very certainly going to go with said idea given that I have a couple hundred pictures of a canal with reflective waters. The metaphor was too perfect, and a little too easy. I don’t like easy – so I abandoned the idea in favour of a more gritty, somewhat autobiographical, pseudo rant, which is always a little more fun. Let us save the wishy washy, semi philosophical posts for the bloggers who get paid to be that bland and predictable…

I’m almost 30. In just a few days I will hit my third decade and I cannot be more excited. My thirties will mark a new, and (probably most) important chapter of my life thus far. I plan to get married, have babies, make more money and finally get my teeth fixed (a process I constantly deferred throughout my twenties due to my preference for perfect and expensive shoes as opposed to a perfect and expensive smile). I have written previously about the key life lessons learnt throughout my twenties but failed to delve deeply into one of the lessons that has probably affected my life the most; The growing pains of friendship. I have come to realise that there are different types of friendships that can either add or subtract value from your bank balance, sanity and overall growth as a human being. So, as a little pointless exercise, I put together a list of friend types below which I am sure you have all encountered at some point in time…

The male friend who isn’t really your friend (and just wants to f***)

Ladies, take it from someone who knows all too well. Just as a polar bear will brave icy waters in order to sneak up on an unsuspecting prey, a male ‘friend’ is simply biding his time, lying in wait until an opportune moment presents itself to get in yo’ panties. If this moment does not arise, that ‘friend’ will drop you quicker than I drop a synthetic made shoe. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule; Exception number 1) male friends you’ve already let ‘hit’ (they’ve sampled the goodies and will crawl back to the friend zone where they belong without protest). Exception number 2 – The family friend – you used to play together in the sandpit. that’s borderline incest. Exception number 3 – The gay friend. Obvs.

The girl friend who isn’t really your friend

You will never know a fake friend on sight or even at first or second encounter. Fake friends are what I like to call ‘shapeshifters’. They change form (yes even physical appearance, such is their weak minds they are easily led and often prone to imitation of others whether it be hairstyle, outfits or unabashed attempts to clone an entire life form), opinion, and allegiances based on what benefits them the most at any given time. They are most likely to extend their ‘friendship’ to you without you having warranted it. Fake friends like to be ‘affiliated’ in the hope that whatever you have got going on for you will be bestowed upon them and are always looking for an easy way to get ‘put on’. They will invite you to special occasions and personal events such as birthdays and christenings in the hope that you will return the favour.  You will meet their kids, be introduced to their parents, and even their best friend from primary school in order to create a ‘bond’ . This friend will usually only remember to call you when you are the flavour of the month, riding high in life or popping off on instagram. But should your fortunes take a turn, the real will begin to emerge from the fake you have been used to. With the emergence of social networks, this is increasingly common online where girls will form friendships on vapid, vacuous foundations such as how many followers each have, guys they have in common, or the fact that they use the same brand of makeup.

Expect NO LOYALTY from a fake friend whatsoever. If you happen to be targeted and want to see if a real friendship will form, tread very carefully and be prepared to use them as much as they are using you!

The party friend

In your twenties, and perhaps even mid teens and early thirties for some, you tend to be a lot more social and a lot less jaded. You’re dancing on tables in an exclusive members only club in Mayfair, glugging champagne from the bottle and taking selfies with the blonde who just so happens to be dancing on the table next to you. before you know it, you guys are BFF’s. Turning up at every club from W1 to SW3 (we don’t do EC or warehouse raves), you are kindred spirits of the night. You party hard 4 nights a week, nurse each other through endless hangovers and have the best drunken-night-out stories and dare I say it, drunken-night-out secrets too. This is your ride or die, ying to your yang, Yves to your Saint Laurent – oh wait. We all know what happened to Yves Saint Laurent. Basically Yves decided it was time to grow up, actually be a sober functioning adult, swap champagne fuelled yacht parties for dinner at 6 with their respective other and before you know it, the bubble bursts, you realise in the real world your sister from another mister was nothing more than a party friend. Yet the memories of your rockstar friendship live on in the halls of refurbished clubs and forgotten Facebook albums.

The Toxic Friend

This friend may have all the right credentials to be a real, true friend, one day. But there’s just one problem. This friend is an inherent f*** up who is incapable of getting their shit together no matter how hard they try. As a result, this friendship will always lead to drama, destruction and doom. We all have that one friend who lives a complete shambles of a life; A shambles they have created for themselves and refuse to fix. That friend that goes back to her cheating, lying, abusive boyfriend after you’ve joined her on a Thelma and Louise type revenge massacre on his brand new car. That friend that spends quicker than they earn so you end up listening to their debt ridden tales of woe as you give them a lift to the pound to retrieve their car. That friend that seems to have drama and bad luck follow them everywhere they go. Yes, that person may have great potential to be an incredible and awesome friend. But the reality is, greatness isn’t built on potential alone. It takes hard work, determination, effort and a bunch of other character defining traits that some people just honestly lack and will never possess. Once you come to that realisation, chances are you will run walk away from this type of friendship without looking back.

The Bonafide Friend

These come few and far between, but just like the ring of Mordor, once forged this friendship will never be broken. A true friend is the closest you will get to choosing your own family member. It’s important to identify your true friends as soon as possible. I’ve made the mistake of not talking to one of my true friends for almost 10 years over something so trivial that to recall it for you now is a near impossible task. We wasted so much time and missed out on incremental, life changing moments in each others lives that we’ll never get back. Whilst our friendship remains, it has definitely suffered at the hands of such neglect, something I regret immensely.

You are as only as strong as your weakest link. I am proud to say that as my 30th birthday approaches, I have all but rid myself of anything and everything that is not pure or true. Along with meat, refined sugars, polyester and reality TV that includes my friendships as well.

* Photography by Juice Black

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