We all have those friendships. You know, the ones where we’re not sure whether we’re in the friendship because it’s good or because we’ve been friends for so long that it’s a given now. The friendships nobody else can really understand and sometimes, you’re at a loss too.
But they’re friendships that you keep. Not because they always make sense but because, well, they’re your friends. It’s difficult to explain.
I have a number of these friendships where the balance sometimes seems off and it’s difficult to explain them. The friends in question can be selfish, narcissistic and judgmental. They can be a challenge and a frustration at times. This is when people around you start contemplating an intervention because, to them, it’s obvious you’re in a toxic friendship.
But they’re also the friends who you love to sit down with a bottle of wine and a cheesy movie and chill out, laughing because you’re not really watching the movie but gossiping about what the characters are wearing and which friends they fit in real life. You’re laughing over how you SO had the same situation last week but sadly, your boss is no Hugh Dancy and did not appreciate you thinking so outside the box that you were in another galaxy.
They’re the friends who, despite all your foibles and theirs, you have history with. And trust me, when you move countries and cities a bit, you learn to appreciate the history when the only history you have otherwise goes back 2 weeks. You appreciate the people who know you because they’ve been around you for so long that they know how you react or behave and what’s normal and what’s not.
Sometimes the history of the friendship is not enough to save it from being toxic, it’s true. But sometimes, 6 years of history is what binds the friendship through ups and downs and different experiences. And trying to explain the friendship is impossible. Which makes people even more confused as to why you’re actually friends. How do you explain that you’ve hiked up Heartattack Hill in brutal desert heat and survived; that you’ve laughed and cried through new romances and broken hearts; that you’ve goaded each other into buying the PERFECT dress even when you were out to buy pants? How do you explain that while you whinge about their foibles when you’re fighting, the good stuff will always outweigh the bad; that you may be frustrated at times but that all gets forgotten in times of need?
It’s tough and it’s fine line. Friendships are good for your mental health – they’re about feeding your soul. They need nurturing to ensure that the good DOES outweigh the bad.