Today, I was having lunch with four friends and suddenly I just felt weirdly proud of myself. I hadn’t done anything, yet here I was, with four lovely people who I’d only met in the last few years. It felt like an achievement to me.
See, I’ve never really been good at making friends. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always had a great close knit group of friends since I was very young but that meant that I’ve found it very hard to venture outside of that group. When I reached secondary school I was sort of forced to, and I did make friends. This mostly came from an English club I joined in year 7 which ran for about 2 years, and it was like I’d found a group of people who I really got on with, and we really did get on, it was a bit like a family (and I’m still friends with the majority of these people, in fact 3 of the 4 people I mentioned at the beginning were in that club). But in year 7, and beyond, it just felt like everyone was making these friends that became their ‘best friends’ and I just wasn’t, I sometimes still feel like that now. It doesn’t help that I don’t at all fit the criteria of someone ‘popular’, I’m probably as far from it as you can get, and this bothers me much more than it should.
It’s why I am so thankful for dance, but particularly the company I am in, as before that it was a different story. I did have that love and passion for dance but I was always the solitary outsider in my classes as I went on my own and everyone else went in their existing friend circles. There were all these groups, then me, and that really hurt. I did try, but then on the other hand I didn’t want to intrude on people, I might annoy them. In retrospect, for those couple of years I felt really isolated and lonely at dance. The actual class was completely fine, but then as soon as we took a break, everyone would go and stand in their individual groups and I’d either stand on the outside or just give up and pretend to be doing something on my own.
The company changed that, and for the past couple of years I’ve been so happy. I’ve met the people that I never knew I needed. I do still have these doubts sometimes, where I think ‘yes but do they actually like me?’ judging from previous experiences. However, this never lasts long anymore, as I genuinely feel like I’ve found my people, they mean so much to me.
Recently, my friend group has changed quite significantly, and it wasn’t my doing, it was either that some people walked away or I was pushed out – I’m not quite sure which. But you know that saying, ‘one door closes then another one opens’? It makes sense. I’ve rediscovered old friendships and I’ve surrounded myself with people who like me for who I am and who don’t care about the superficial aspect of school. It really is so lovely, my friends really are amazing.
So, back to what I said at the beginning. Having lunch with friends may not seem like an achievement at all, but to me that just seemed very significant for some reason. For too long, I have clung to the past because I was happy before and I didn’t want things to change. But change is inevitable, it’s part of life and it can be extremely hard if you don’t want it. If you are in some sort of situation like this, (which doesn’t even have to be about friendships, just a general change or crossroads in life) accept and embrace the change. It might be hard, and it might take a bit of getting used to, but it’s happening for a reason, so let it and it will only benefit you. Go on, do it. I did, and I’m so much happier.