Friends – I Bet You Think This Blog Post is About You!

Writing this blog and joining Twitter was my way of trying to expand my network of friends or at the very least learn how to reach out to others. As a single mother over the past nine, nearly 10 years I have been responsible for my children 24/7, 365 days a year and opportunities to meet new people are few and far between, I don’t get alternate weekends off like some divorced parents do!

At times of stress and emotional turmoil I withdraw from contact with others and the last 10 years or so have been full of stressful, emotional events. Without a doubt this started with my father’s death. It was sudden, shocking and very unexpected. I withdrew from my then husband and this behaviour was undoubtedly a contributory factor in his affair that followed. This is the part that I take full responsibility for.

From then on my withdrawal was like a snowball effect. The other woman was known to us and one day I even spoke to her and commented that her ‘new man’ must be good for her as she was looking glowing and well. Why is the wife the last to know? My self imposed alienation from my circle of so called friends (so many of them had known of the affair and not told me or even hinted) just grew & grew as I tried to escape the gossip and keep my pain private. I value the people in my life highly, but I value trust and loyalty too.

This isn’t a poor me post though.

There are always friends that you haven’t met just waiting to be found. When this gossip and speculation by the Playground Mafia was rife, one person who I had never spoken to before made the effort to talk to me every single school day and if she didn’t collect her four year old daughter, then her older seventeen year old daughter took her place. They were both friendly faces in a sea of people who I no longer trusted. Ten years later I am still in contact with them both and I remain incredibly grateful that they reached out.

My personal circumstances also resonated with someone who I met at the same time through my work. We spent many evenings chatting online about partners, life, sadness and eventually dating. Without his support and encouragement I would never have had the courage to set up my online dating profile, met my partner and experienced the love we shared. He’s also held firm as a friend despite moving thousands of miles away and has remotely ‘been there’ for me over the last couple of years since my partner went to work in a war zone and has not been seen since.

Then there was a fellow ‘dance mum’, who I had previously passed the time of day with, she was also experiencing divorce. We have shared so many similar life events since (apart from the one where she gets married) and have, I am sure, many yet to share!

What about when I became ill and ended up in hospital, there was the friend and her husband who stepped in, visited me, taxied my Mum to hospital to see me all during the extreme winter of 2010/11? Not only that, they offered me work afterwards enabling me to escape the corporate job that was making me more and more unhappy every single day. Their entire family, although we see less of them now, has been rock solid for me and my children.

So my friendship circle got pruned. But like the overgrown shrubs in my garden that I mercilessly and viciously attacked earlier this year there are new shoots sprouting again in places where you wouldn’t think possible.

It’s very true that strangers are friends that you haven’t met yet.

WP_000061 (2)(taken on ‎21 ‎August ‎2012, ‏the last full day that I spent with my partner)

A stranger reached out to me recently and gave me hope that there are still new friends to be made. I can already feel the difference that this one gesture has bought me, some of the unhappiness has lifted and life looks more positive. It gives me more confidence to make bolder moves towards others that seem to be offering friendship where perhaps I haven’t been very open.

These people change your life and sometimes they don’t have a clue how much.

13 thoughts on “Friends – I Bet You Think This Blog Post is About You!”

  1. Jane, your posts are getting more addictive. I feel like waiting for a fruit to ripen, sometimes it takes longer but once its ready its just great. I know that sharing some stuff publicly just needs the perfect timing. And the title… oh just great. I love the song. (sorry still using my Czech keyboard with no apostrophes)

    1. Thank you Pavla, I had another wonderful compliment about it today. It really touched me and proved that other people perceive you very differently from how you see yourself. I’m glad you recognised the song!

  2. There is something both challenging and rewarding about putting pen to paper and writing down ones own life story, Out of all of this has come two great kids, a stronger person and probably a much more flexible attitude!

    It is god to see a story written and to write a story. I have just written my entire life story for the Diocese of Winchester, which I have found quite a ‘shocking’ and ‘therapeutic’ undertaking….seeing it all written down from age 3 to 45!….although I believe everyone should do it, having just done it myself.

    As Kate Adie once said, she was overwhelmed with the kindness of strangers while in places like Beirut in the 70s, and it sounds like you have experienced some kindness recently, which is a great blessing!

  3. It’s those painful times that reveal people and friends for who they really are. Horrible at the time, compounding the badness of the moment, but freeing in retrospect. Great post, again!

  4. Jane, I so enjoy your posts and as another said, they are addictive! Your honesty in your blog resonates with me in that even though I have been married a wonderful 28+ years, it’s still possible to be lonely at times.
    There, i said it, being honest.
    Women need women friends and though I consider myself a friendly, warm person, since moving here from our hometown 19 years ago, making lasting true friendships has been difficult. I do have some work related friends but that’s as far as it’s goes, not much outside of work with them. I have tried, believe me.
    I too, joined Twitter to reach out and find more interaction. I have also turned to writing more to vent my lonliness.
    I have one amazing daughter,23 years old that I consider a wonderful friend and she says the same about me. I feel it’s okay to be “friends” now that she is an adult and married. She is just so inspiring, losing over 120 lbs four years ago, becoming a Personal Trainer and now a power lifting champion. She is working on being a professional power lifter. She draws me into her circle of friends of which they affectionately call me “mom.” This makes me feel wanted and loved. I sit back and consider myself blessed and realize things could be worse. I have my husband, my son, his wife, a sweet grandson that is the light of our lives,my daughter, her husband of 2+years, 2 spoiled dogs, 4 spoiled cats, my art, my crafts, my books, my writing, my faith in God, and so many new found friends here on Twitter and Facebook. I am thankful for you as well and Ailish. I so enjoy your blogs and tweets, you have both touch my life in a special way. Thank you.

  5. I have found this so true recently. You really do not know who is lurking around the next corner ready to befriend you. I have met some lovely friends online since being let down by others. As you say, being a single parent means it is really difficult to get out and meet new people. Our friendship circles do change and shrink to a certain extent but it is true. A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet. A lovely, hopeful post despite beginning with such painful experiences. I am finding your posts and attitude to life inspirational! Thank you for sharing such personal issues with such openness. Like you, I have also found blogging to be therapeutic.

  6. This is a great post Jane. It’s so true, you really don’t know who you can count on until the going gets tough. Glad to hear you’ve found a few good friends through social media, and here’s hoping you find a few more 🙂

    1. Thank you. Sometimes people let you down when you least expect it & step up when you never dreamed you meant that much to them. The latter is obviously far better!

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