I think, as adults, we have unknowingly bought into a modern fairytale version of friendships. We fondly remember Sex and the City and yearn for the kind of friendship that Carrie and her friends shared… Or maybe you’re a little more up with the times and watch shows like Revenge and love the unconditional friendship that Amanda shares with Nolan? Either way, the friendship is the same. Unconditional. They have their arguments and hold each other accountable – but yet they still adore each other. They are there for each other. They don’t need to keep each other updated on what’s happening in each other’s lives, because they meet up. In person. Yes, that’s right. They don’t catch up over Facebook, or email, or Twitter. They catch up in person!! I know! How novel! They have time to meet.
How on earth do they find the time for these regular breakfasts and long lunches? Well for a start, they don’t seem to have families and in many cases they don’t have jobs either. They also live in the same country. Same city even. Oh, here we go. Reality. Yes. We’ve been caught longing for the type of friendship that doesn’t seem to be able to exist in our modern day reality. We are just so busy! Not to mention our friendship groups from school seem to disbanded across several countries.
A little over a year ago I published a rather dramatic and brutally honest blog post about my struggles with post natal depression… and I touched on how most of my friends or family weren’t anywhere to be found… at a time when I needed them most. After I posted that, I received so many emails from my friends all asking me the same thing, “Why didn’t you tell me things were so bad?” And you know what? That question made me mad. Seriously, you are asking me that? So the stint where I was hospitalized with my son didn’t tell you we were having serious problems? I even posted a picture on Facebook of us ‘merrily’ ushering in the new year from our hospital bed… Or what about how I used to regularly call/email/text you to see how things are in your world and then suddenly after the birth of my son there was radio silence? That didn’t tell you that something was up?
Now, I understand that nobody is perfect. I am the first to admit that I will be the friend who forgets your birthday and probably your children’s names too. Particularly if your children are out of the age group that will play with my child – you know, if I don’t see them I struggle to remember their names. They all kind of blend in unless there’s a face and personality attached… In saying that, what is the name of the guy you’re dating? Is it the same guy as last month?? But I’ll tell you one thing about my kind of friendship. If you publish a blog post or status update about something terrible that’s going on in your life, my first thought won’t be, “Why didn’t you tell me?” My first thought will be, “Why am I such a shit friend I didn’t notice your life was de-railing?” and you can be damn sure I will do my best to I check up on you a little more regularly and you can also be damn sure it won’t be over six months inbetween chats.
But that has been reality for me of late. Not once or twice have I slipped through the friendship cracks. I can forgive that. People are busy. But when it happens multiple times… Well now I’m taking it personally. See I thought we were really good friends. Maybe not the Carrie Bradshaw Sex in the City closeness, but definitely closer than acquaintances. So we’re faced with a predicament. Did I judge the closeness of our friendship incorrectly? I mean, when you needed to speak to me at 2am I was there for you. When you needed me to console you over Skype for hours on end, I did. Because you needed me. And in my mind, that’s what friends do. It’s not about when it’s convenient for me. You can’t timetable your crisis in a time that’s suitable for me. If I’m your friend, I figure I’ve got a window of about 48hours from the time of crisis to be there for you. When you’ve had a crisis, time is sensitive. But now I’ve been in situations where it would’ve been really good to have the support of my friends… and they are just so busy (not the friends pictured, obviously, or that would be really awkward). So I ask you, while we probably would all love the closeness and unconditional love that the Sex in the City girls shared – do we have the time for that kind of friendship? Or have we worked ourselves into a lifestyle where we just don’t have time for that kind of friendship? Is that type of friendship our adult version of a fairytale?