I have struggled with this in the past, I have seen friendships come and go, which is fine, but when I know they are ‘going’ because of my situation, i.e. my pain, limitations or even fear sometimes…. It is a really hard blow.
You want to arrange that night out, weekend away, or shopping trip, but deep down inside there’s that ultimate fear that a flare-up is not going to have eased by then, or that you couldn’t manage a car journey for that length of time, or you just wake up too sore to manage a ‘normal’ day.
It’s so hard coming to terms with your own vulnerability in that respect, but to have to explain or even justify that to someone else? Let me tell you, it is hard.
I have found myself in the past pushing myself to unreasonable levels just to be seen to attempt something and then crashing and burning as it was too high a request. I have cried over friendships drifting away because I feel I’m just not the same easy-going, care-free, spontaneous ‘Sarah’ they once knew and I have even seen myself make excuse after excuse for not attending things because I’m just too embarrassed to say, ‘sorry to cancel, I’m just too sore, again’.
This awareness, however, is a double-edged sword as one thing that it does bring you, is a whole new level of love and appreciation for your true friends. The ones that know your story, have stuck by you through the really crappy, scary times and who you know will be in your life forever.
The friends that always seem to know when to send you that little ‘are you ok?’ text at just the right time, that make plans for things that will ease pain and discomfort rather than bring it on, that meet up and you can bear your soul to each other and know there’s no judgement, and can make you smile even in the darkest times and who remind you of your strength and courage when you seem to have forgotten it yourself.
These friends are as precious as diamonds and I would be so lost without my amazing sparkly circle I have around me.
Researchers have studied the profound impacts friendships and social circles can have on your life. In fact they have proven that friends may even extend your life. People who have strong social relationships are less likely to die prematurely than people who are isolated. In fact, according to some research, the effect of social ties on life span is twice as strong as that of exercising, and equivalent to that of quitting smoking!
So I guess what I’m trying to say is it’s important to both our physical and mental health to be surrounded with good people, and that we, as friends, can have a huge impact on our friends by just being genuinely present and part of their lives.
I think we need to give ourselves permission to be a bit more selective about who we choose to spend our time with and who we invite into our ‘tribe’. When you’re in a vulnerable place in your own life, it’s incredibly important to make your surroundings as safe and secure as possible. So choose your tribe wisely and love the bones off them!