If Mean Girls taught us anything it’s that the ‘girl world’ is a fickle and complex place. When blokes have a problem with each other it ends with a punch up and the shaking of hands, with girls it can turn to full scale false faced gang warfare. But what happens when the jellyfish stings and cat calling come from your friends and you have no idea about it?
In life we all take on roles, in our careers, in our relationships – mother, sister, solicitor, PA and these roles shouldn’t define us. If you don’t like a job you leave and find a new one, if the path isn’t right you opt for a career change. But what about the roles we find ourselves taking that we didn’t even process. Are you fed up of being the PA of the group? Organising everything from which pub to meet at to group train tickets because everyone else is two half soaked to do it? Are you the banker? Constantly paying the upfront fees and deposits having to chase people for pennies and the tip for last nights curry because you’re the one whose credit card is least likely to bounce? Are you the mum, passing on that last drink because you know you need to stay sober to get the drunkards into the taxi and barter with the driver that ‘no she really isn’t going to vom that chicken donner all over the backstreet before Garret Lane.’ Maybe you’re the agony aunt? the one who gets the round o’clock phone calls to deal with the dramas because everyone knows your phone is always on loud. Or worse are you the butt of the jokes, the court jester fool who they like to bring out for entertainment and send back when it’s too much?
Sounds horrid doesn’t it but everyone of us will have found ourselves in one of those positions once to often. Occasionally the mum might want to be the one to let her hair down and just sometimes we forget that the fool is a real person rather than the Duracell bunny and might just want a cup of earl grey and an easy life. Relationships break down and we start new ones but friendships are forever. Or are they? There are some friends we will have for life but as we grow up and move on with our lives it’s okay to grow out of friendships too. At school when you were in the same dance troupe, obsessing over who got what part and what you were going to wear to Annie Davie’s house party on Saturday night you saw yourselves as inseparable. But now she’s got a baby and a mortgage and you’re still tangoing with your overdraft you can begin to loose that sense of closeness because the spark that made you click has taken you both onto different tangents.
That realisation is often an organic one, you might rather gauge your eyes out than a night on the cheep wine sticking to a rancid bubblegum pop blasting floor because that fit guy from accounts said he’d be there and she might find the prospect of a gourmet bake off monotonous. These shifts are okay it’s the ones you least expect you have to watch out for. The after work crowds of girls sipping into their first chardonnay, you like these ladies, you want the same things, you do the same things, you have your job in common wahoo. But do you ever find yourself getting jelly fish stung?
‘Thats a nice top where did you get it? ah right I haven’t been able to shop in there for years I just find the cut is too be on me. That’s such a good fit on you tho I’m well jel.’
‘Oh I sometimes wish I was single it must be great to have all that free time on your hands.’
‘You’re so lucky you can get away with rimmel foundation. I can only wear MAC.’
‘Sorry about Tuesday we just figured that as it’s a bit pricey that end you’d rather not come.’
‘We’ve already gone thirds on vodka but there’s an off license down the road if you wanted to go and grab something for yourself?’
Sound familiar? Have you ever been in a room full of people but felt so lonely. Left an event feeling worse than before you got there, like everyone was bumming off each other and not paying attention to a word you say? Get out….
When I was at school I found some of the most hurtful comments actually came from my friends and each day was like a fight for survival in the girls toilets. Who sat with who in French and who everyone waited for at lunch could be the ultimate decider in how things would go. Notes passed round class, speaking in code , giggles about in jokes could all be brutal. In year eleven I was taken under the wing of two girls who showed me what real friendship was about. Not jut the sleepovers and underage nights out but wiping the tears from the boy dramas, family fall outs and all things teenage. The one girl and I eventually drifted apart as we’d be victims to our own toxic behaviours and the other has asked me to be maid of honour at her wedding – that’s how things go. But no matter the end outcome I will never forget what they taught me and the feelings of relief and belonging when you discover what none toxic relationships should be. Because would you rather be in a room full of people who don’t respect you or alone with your dignity intact?
Now I’m not saying go through your phone and delete anyone who has ever said anything mean because life is mean and we’ve all been guilty of the offhand comment here and there, it’s what makes us human. But think to yourself , do these people really make me happy? Will things ever change? If something is worth saving , give it a friendship make over and try and meet halfway, If not move on before you become the toxic friend.