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The Complexities Of Friendship August 26, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Rants.

I understand how relationships work. I understand how families work. But when it comes to friendships, I have to admit that I draw a bit of a blank.

Friends are wonderful people. They, hopefully, look after you when you are down, and they are there for you when you are lonely. They make you laugh, they mop up your tears, and they still like you after that really drunk night when you argued with them over some non-sensical issues for four hours straight. They are, in short, the people that keep us going from day to day, and I owe them a lot.

However, sometimes a friendship falls through. You realise, after years, that the person you knew has long disappeared, and been replaced with a new person whom you aren’t particularly fond of. You simply slip out of contact with someone, with no reason other than distance and the passage of time. You let them down, or they betray you.

The thing is, you see, that friendships are so complicated. They are like a web, all interweaving and interlaced. On friend knows another. An ex knows all of your friends. They have their own set of relationships, and no single friendship exists in isolation. Priorities, preferences and the depth of a friendship seems to be pretty darn hard to pin down.

Recent events have brought this home to me. I have tried very hard to ensure that Ben’s friendships with my friends don’t get damaged by our break up. And, I think, they generally haven’t. I have even gone to the effort of ensuring that I don’t discuss the traumatic ups and downs with them if I can avoid it – because it is only going to make things harder for them. However, recent events have messed all this up. A betrayal in my friendship group has meant that my friendships are fragile now – I am having to avoid a certain person and the unfortunate people in the middle have had to bear the brunt of it. It isn’t fair on them. I don’t know how a friendship is supposed to deal with that. Other friends have thought they were being cut off from Ben – and have responded at me accordingly. This isn’t the case.

Does anyone have any idea about friendships? How on earth do they survive?



1. sparrowrags - August 27, 2010

I wish I had some advice. But all I can say is, all storms pass, and there are always people that love and care for you, because I believe you are an exceptional human being. I hope things get better.

2. Melbourne Belle - September 2, 2010

Oh, this sounds very tricky and unhappy for you. BTW I am a long time lurker of your blog.
I once introduced my sister to a guy in my friendship circle. They were a couple for about 4 years, living together for about 2, then he broke up with her (quite brutally).
I was upset that he had hurt her, and I was angry at him. I said to another mutual friend I wasn’t sure how to act around the Ex in the wake of the breakup. I still vallued his freindship, and I had “known him first” but at the same time didn’t want to be around him. The mutual friend told me to re-negotiate the freindship with the Ex.
At first I said I couldn’t be around him, then only in groups/social settings. In the 2 years since the breakup, my friendship with the Ex has returned to its pre-breakup state, and perhaps has become stronger through that shared difficult time.
So, I guess be open and honest with your friends and trust them to do the same. REview and re-negotiate and see where life takes you.

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