Friendships – How to know when you still feel like you are in the playground?
We all have memories of what being in the playground felt like. Hopefully some of those memories are good and filled with fun and laughter and lots of experiences where we forged alliances and made pinkie promises and got into crazy adventures. Some of those friendships may even have endured beyond school and have become a bedrock in our lives now.
If so, that is wonderful and can give a real sense of certainty and enduring connection. But other memories may not be so good and can still be giving a great sense of insecurity and lack of connection because, even though years may have passed, some friendships and experiences can bounce us straight back into that playground.
I have been experiencing this myself recently. I have one particular friend who I love and adore who is also friends with another two girls. There was a time when we would all regularly hang out together, meeting for lunch, having afternoon wine and gossip sessions and to a certain extent, I really enjoyed this. However, increasingly, I began to feel rather on the periphery and out of sync with the conversations and general interests shared. The adult part of me wanted to accept this and just enjoy being with them on face value and accept that I had other friends with who I felt more connected.
Long story short, several conversations and also a specific fall out, resulted in my distancing myself more and more. Nothing was ever said and my close friend remained the lynchpin and she continued spend regular time with them. I opted to dip in and out and there were times when I really enjoyed it and began to question why I wasn’t getting involved. And then, there would come an occasion where once again, I found myself with little to say and feeling not so much on the periphery but actually completely out of the loop and actively disliked or at best tolerated. And still I hung in there! As a coach, I have talked to lots of people about being aware of who in their life they feel confident and supported with.
The need to feel connected with others can be a tricky thing. We tend to meet that need in many different ways but having close friendship groups or alliances through work or leisure pursuits tend to be the most common. And it is with the friendship group that some tricky situations and confusing feelings can arise.
Feeling connected can be both a positive or negative things. For example, it is not uncommon to bond with people who are going through similar situations or who are united against a common enemy at work. Gossip, moaning and complaining by far form the biggest groups of those seeking to connect but that is a topic to explore another time!