This week it has become abundantly clear that to my old friends I am indeed, old news. Fair enough really; I rarely see them, and I don’t make much effort to see them, but that certainly goes both ways. And it’s not like I ignore their calls; I made the awkward ninety-minute journey out of the city to wish them farewell on their gap years – I do still care for these people! Basically, whilst I am well aware that we are no longer tight, I was under the impression that we were at least still friends. The kind of friends who hug at gatherings and share updates on our lives, and will go halves on a bottle of wine.
There are two sides to this story; there is the side wherein I was disorganised, and foolishly left things until the last minute; the side where I didn’t make enough effort to communicate my situation. And then there is the side where my messages were largely ignored, and I was left out of communal plan-making, and offered very little help in my hour of need.
The difficulty I am experiencing – trying to get to the Midlands for the wedding of a man I have known for no less than thirteen years! Since he was just a “wee ginger nipper”; longer, I might add, than any of our mutual friends have known him – is my fault. I will take the blame for my poor planning and I will take some of the blame for my financial instability (although I’ve been hit hard by things beyond my control on that point too). However, the overwhelming unwillingness of said friends to offer me any help when I’ve fucked up, seems somewhat… unfriendly.
Whilst I know it is absolutely not their problem, it seems to me that friends are supposed to be the people who offer you help regardless of whether they have vested interest or not. At nine o’clock every Friday night since I was six, The Rembrandts told me, if it hadn’t been my day, my week, my month, or even my year, my friends would be there for me.
Well, my best friends are. My best friends make an effort to see me; they invite me over, they meet me at the station, they will split a bottle of wine with me, they will make up the spare bed. But I suppose I have to face the fact that my old friends, whilst still friends of a sort, are no longer my best friends. (Yes, I am beginning to feel like Murray Hewitt, with his friends graph; and if they make me feel any less welcome I may have to demote them to strangers.)
I suppose this is all part of growing up and moving on. (See? I may seem mature, but 23 is just little really.) Change can be hard. And I will still smile, and be happy to see people at the wedding tomorrow – if I haven’t died on a coach before midday – and I’ll be glad to split drinks and spend time with the one friend who was up until 11pm last night texting me advice on how to get there; but in the long run, I am much happier on the sofa with Molly, or talking literary theory with RG, or sharing Dim Sum with Daddy. Because my life is different now; and really, now that things are sorted, and I’ve stepped back, I know am a very happy, lucky little girl.
It still hurts to be left to fend for myself, ignored by people I thought I could count on, but c’est la vie.