What’s Up With That is a blog series in which I explore how I have been feeling and some of life’s most important questions. These posts are unedited (apart from the odd spelling mistake) and not pre thought about. They are what’s on my mind during the ten minutes that I take to write about them.
I think that popularity is something that we are all going to have differing ideas and opinions about and I think that is kind of great. It is something that I have been thinking about a lot recently and I have a few ideas that I want to share with you.
Growing up and being at school I would have classed myself as popular. I was part of many different ‘groups of people’ and I managed to have friends from different years, interests and types of people. I was invited to the cool parties, the rock concerts with the indie kids, book clubs with the quieter types and spent a lot of time with both boys and girls. I absolutely adored school and felt pretty much adored by friends that I cherished throughout most of my time there.
Now that I sit here 9 years after leaving school I honestly don’t think that I speak to one single person that I went to school with and this guts me a little. I think that this has happened for a variety of reasons- we have grown up, apart and to different parts of the world and are exploring different parts of life and different parts of ourselves and there is no longer a common thread to hold us together.
That thread has very much snapped.
I played a massive part in this, that I am sure of. I am the worst at replying to messages and meeting up with old friends but now that I take this time to look back and reflect on this I see that my confidence has been hugely damaged by a few individuals actions.
Days after leaving school a number of those I would have considered myself closet to deleted my friendship from many of their social media accounts and as pathetic as this now sounds that ruined me a little. I just couldn’t understand why and that resulted in some desperate begging and constant messaging from me as I searched for reasons why that happened. This desperation was probably heightened by echoes of bullying behavior that I was subjected to a few years previously by girls that I have now long forgiven and forgotten. Then at the time it was devastating.
Writing this and looking back on my friendship patterns at school I sit and think did I feel so comfortable with so many people and part of so many different groups because I was on the outside of all of these groups. A girl who was liked but not loved? And was I blind to this because I so longed to be loved by these people? That I forced myself to feel popular because the idea of not being so was so terrifying?
I definitely have not been the best person all the time and at no stage of writing this do I want to put myself across as the victim or an angel, instead I am just trying to analyze how I think that these friendships and the disintegration of them have shaped who I am and have been in my journey from 2007 to 2016.
I also think (and this is so very relevant of the person that I am today) that I still love to be liked and I crave it. I get distracted in other people’s interests and what other people like and I constantly want to fit in. I think that this sense of wanting to belonging is in a lot of us and even if your not obsessed with the idea of popularity you still want to feel comfortable with the people that you are around.
I have definitely had experiences along the way where I have lost myself because along the way because I got really caught up in what everyone else was doing, what other people liked and what other people were thinking of me. I think and I hope that this is the explanation behind my old love of hardcore scream music and dating guys with very questionable haircuts. Having spoken to others on this topic and watching the girls that I teach today muddle their way through friendships I realize that I am not the only one who has been through this experience.
What I have been realizing over the past couple of months is that sometimes you lose really great people in your life and sometimes there are really great people in your life that aren’t the best fit but that doesn’t mean that great people can’t ever come back into it. It’s about instead realizing what it is that you are interested in and believe in and surrounding yourself with minds that will challenge you, share interest with you and introduce you to awesome new things and want to make amazing new memories and have you be a part of them too.
Even though there are friendships that I have lost that I wish that I hadn’t and there were others that just haven’t been the best fit for me at all it has all been a learning experience so now I feel that I am on the right path and I am surrounding myself with people that I love who love me back and we enjoy being around each other.
Sometimes I feel that life is just one big popularity contest and we teach younger people to strive to have the most friends and to be the center of these friendships. I know that was certainly how I always wanted to feel and this makes me really sad.
I think that the key is not to put yourself in the game. Once you remove yourself from the game, everything changes. It is so easy to get caught up in ‘the game’ and this game can differ for all of us. For me it was important to be surrounded by a lot of people and I wanted to make these people happy but at the end of the day it is my life and I’m not and cannot live anyone else’s. I have to do what is joyful and fulfilling for me even if this is not popular in other people’s worlds.
If you are struggling to find a place where you belong than I am there with you too and I think that this is something that constantly evolves throughout the rest of your life and this is something that I am learning right now.
I think that friendships are something that you can look back on, smile and cherish or they are something that you can look back and think ‘what the heck!’ Friendships are a part of life and it is OK to make mistakes with them.
All I know is that right now I want to surround myself with people who will allow me to hold them up and to be the best versions of themselves but are also willing to do the same with me. It is so important to be patient and kind to others but to also be safe in the knowledge that they will give your time, understanding and patience right back to you.
What does popularity and friendship mean to you? Let me know below, it would really mean a lot!