The Friend That Made Me Me {Anna}

It’s been a while since we had a Friend That Made Me Me post, and we’ve missed them. So we were super pleased when Anna sent us her FTMMM post and couldn’t wait to read about her friend, because hey, this woman is cool, the friend that made her her must be *very* cool. And after reading it, we were still really pleased she sent it to us, but for a different reason. Anna has written it from a whole different perspective, and actually I think it’s one that a few of us could relate to. I give you Anna:

I’m thinking this post might make me look like a complete idiot; a lifetime of insecurities about friendships might not be the best thing to share on the internet but for me, this subject was uncomfortable when planning my wedding and that alone makes it something AOW  readers might like to read.

The truth of it is; I could never write a ‘The Friend that made me me’ post.

That is because I have never had a best friend or even, until now, a very close friend.

I should probably start at the beginning:

At primary school, I was the girl that the teachers would sit naughty boys next to. I was clever, always polite to teachers and actually keen and enthusiastic to learn. “Boff” might ring a bell to anyone close in age to me. Somehow, I knew how to make boys laugh, I kind of ‘got’ them way more than I ever knew how to interact with girls and consequently, any of those naughty boys who sat next to me ended up getting better grades and not in so much trouble anymore so it became the norm in every school year that that’s what happened.

The girls got on with me because all the boys liked me and they wanted them to like them too. I remember being so jealous of Lou who always had Danielle and Amy who was always with Louise etc etc. Everyone seems matched up except me.

And then I got sent to an all girls secondary school.

I was not ready for the bitchiness or the cliques or even just finding someone to be my friend. Honestly, I was so completely overwhelmed and so genuinely interested in learning that I got picked on a lot.

And so, I was the girl who cried every single day before school, in my room, at the bus-stop, on the bus and outside my form room. I spent break-times and lunchtimes sat on a fire escape ignoring my loneliness and awkwardness by reading. Woah, did I read a lot of books. My Biology teacher took pity on me and made me the Chairman of the Ecology club. A bit like helping a shy person by making them wear a huge flashing light on their head saying ‘look at me’.

 

At 13 I made the mistake of getting a haircut that I thought would be Meg Ryan-esque which in fact turned out to be far more David Hasselhoff than Meg. Curly hair just gets curlier when you cut it short, who knew?! So, add some bullying and serious lack of self confidence to an already shit situation and it wasn’t great. I moved schools. It was better. Not a huge amount better but no freezing cold fire escape stairwell, or tending geraniums at lunchtime. I flitted between groups, not really believing anyone wanted to be my friend combined with messing it up of my own accord every now and then.

At my second school I definitely had friends. Some great girls actually but they all had their own best friends, and even now are all still friends with each other, whereas they’re just people I bump in to every now and then around town.

I spent my gap year in Italy, attempting to learn Italian and soak up some culture, I ended up soaking a lot more Limoncello than culture and became fluent in the ordering of food and drink and not a lot else. I met some great people and had an amazing time; I’m still in contact with some, unfortunately mostly via Facebook as they live far away. At Uni’ I had housemates, all of which seemed to make amazing friends with each other whilst I made more acquaintances; they made best friends whilst I happily just made the best cocktails. As our lives have gone separate ways so have we.

Right now I have some really great friends who are also stay/work at home mums like me, but again they have their best friends.  I do feel at 28, I am finally coming in to my own and meeting people I really genuinely like a lot, with similar interests. It’s been much easier for me to make friends as a grown up. I’ve even made blogging friends in real life.  I wish with all my heart that blogging had been this popular when I was 13. To know there were so many people out there like me and that actually, I wasn’t that different would have changed my life.

I don’t talk or even think about this often but I guess what made me want to write about it for AOW is the awkwardness of having no best mates and not many female friends, when it comes to a wedding. Who is going to be your Bridesmaid?  Who’s going to try and catch the bouquet? and what the bloody hell do you do about a Hen do?

On the Bridesmaid front, I was so very lucky to have sisters: my own two younger sisters and my now sister- -in-law. We had a small budget which meant a restricted guest list so I stuck to family and my two newest and closest friends that I have met since having my son.  I also had a family hen do which was afternoon tea. Don’t get me wrong, it was absolutely lovely but I do sometimes see other people’s and can’t help feeling jealous and maybe there is something a bit wrong with me?



I’m a little nervous of people I know reading this as I would never really talk about it. I just know that it definitely affected me in the run up to my wedding and perhaps someone else might be feeling the same.

Everyone I know has a best friend. Am I the only person who doesn’t?

{I’d also like to tell my 13 year old self that GHDs get invented soon so please hang in there with the ridiculous hair. You are not fat, please, please see that! You are so far from fat so go swimming and dancing and stop feeling so awkward all the time. Please.}

If you’d like me to be your friend, I promise to wear a big hat to your wedding.

 

 

 

Categories: Family, Friends and Relationships, Friend That Made Me Me
58 interesting thoughts on this

58 Comments

  1. Carly
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    What a brilliant, honest take on FTMMM.

    I thought, when I saw the first photo that you must be the same age as me (I think it’s the hair and is that a hint of Rimmel’s Iced Coffee or Heather Shimmer lippy I detect on your lips?) I wish I could upload my Y11 photo, it’s almost exactly the same – except you were streets ahead of me in the style stakes as you had the good sense to tie your hair back!

    Shall we start a GHD appreciation society, Anna? These straight haired girlies have no idea how they”ve transformed our lives!

    On a serious note, my Fiancé is a little like you describe yourself. I worry about it, about him and get upset that he’s lonely. But he’s actually not, he loves me, he loves his family and the handful
    of friends that he has known for years, but he only sees them once in a blue moon as they live away. It’s quality, not quantity for him.

    Thanks for a fab start to Monday X

    • Posted April 2, 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      I will comment properly on this later but just wanted to say hell yes to the GHD appreciation society! Changed my life too! Mine was less curly and more frizz bomb as a child as Mum insisted on brushing the curls!!

      Great post!

      • Posted April 2, 2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink

        I could genuinely write a FTMMM post about my GHDs.

        K x

        • Carly
          Posted April 2, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

          Me too! I got the big pair for my birthday and now I’m so spoilt I’m wondering how on earth I ever managed with the normal ones!

          Ooh, did you ever try the Vitamin E oil I reccomended?

          X

          • Posted April 2, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

            I did, thank you, it’s been amazing actually! Really has made so much difference to my skin :-D

            k x

    • Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      Hi Carly,

      so up for a GHD appreication society. I feel it needs some kind of shrine that we can all pin awful before photos too and have some kind of burning.

      • Carly
        Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

        What a great idea! I’m going to dig that photo out!

  2. Steff
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Oh boy do I know exactly how you felt growing up and you’ve summed up exactly why I get a wee twinge of jealousy every time I see one of the FTMMM posts.

    Thanks for being so open and honest Anna, it’s nice to know there are others out there in the same boat.

    That dress is fab by the way, I don’t think anyone wore a proper hat to my wedding… I was gutted.

    xx

    • Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      I started telling people I would love it if they wore hats about two years before so we had lots of lovely hats. Such a shame no-one wore one to yours.. Glad you resonated with my post. I’ve been a bit overwhelmed at all the comments/tweets and emails saying the same.

  3. Alex D
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Reading this was like reading about my time at school (only not the clever part). When we planned our wedding, I thought I was alone in thinking the guest list was a bit out of balance. I didn’t have many friends I could call “mine”. It all seemed to be friends of the boy’s & their WAGs who we invited.

    I still look back at my wedding with a tinge of sadness, as out of the three BMs I had, one of my friends no longer talks to me. No idea why. She & my other friend who I’ve known since school spent the whole day on their mobiles. Most of the w-day pictures reflect this. I also planned my own hen do with some reluctance as I didn’t think a) anyone would turn up or b) it would be any good (it wasn’t).

    I am lucky that I have now found some chums through t’interweb who I now count as my closest friends. I just wish I knew them at the time of my wedding. I do have friends outside of this group, however they aren’t on my first to call list if something was to go wrong in my life.

    Thank you for sharing this, Anna. I always felt like it was just me who felt this way. x

    P.S. I too had curly hair at school & went for a crop. Two words – Kevin Keegan. GHDs would have made my time at school a helluva lot better – those and Spanx.

    • Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      That’s so sad about your bridesmaids and a shame you couldn;t have had your new friends!

      Everyone’s comments today made me realise that it’s really very common to feel this way. I think the hen do is almost more daunting than the wedding in this situation, especially as they have become such a big thing in recent years!

      Thank you for your comment xx

  4. Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Aren’t girls awful sometimes! My FTMMM and I have known each other for so long (21 years) that she feels more like a sibling, so our relationship does feel different and quite special, and I always think how lucky we were to meet. I can’t imagine having that sort of friendship with anyone else, as I’ve generally struggled to fit in – always been bookish and a bit of a loner too.I was completely isolated and friendless at university for three years, and was terrified and, with hindsight, I became quite depressed because of it.

    I only had one bridesmaid, and that was her. I am fortunate enough to have a lot of female friends, but they’ve literally only popped up really in the last four or five years, and we rarely discuss anything personal, so there isn’t any real closeness yet. None of it really bothers me, mostly because I have FTMMM, even if she is in a different city, and also because knowing what a geek I am I think I’ve got more of a social life than anyone who knew me at school would have predicted. I’m constantly surprised by the fact that my husband wants to hang out with me as much as he does!

    I think a lot of people talk the talk, Anna, but don’t necessarily walk the walk. And for what it’s worth, if we’d met at school I would totally have helped you water those geraniums.

    Px

    • Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      I loved your FTMMM post Penny. So amazing to have a friend like that!! xx

  5. Laura C
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    This is like reading my own childhood/teenage/uni years – its actually quite scary! And I can’t tell you the amount of crap straighteners I tried before I discovered GHDs. Praise the inventors of those bad boys.

    I came round to do the ‘hen do list’ the other day…and got stumped after 3 girls, who are my bridesmaids. Then I added all my friends that are guys, and got into double figures.

    I thought I had a best friend until she disappeared off the face of the planet, and so I’m left thanking the fact that I have the H2B as a best friend. Ok I can’t ask him to recommend a good bikini-wax lady, but at least he’ll tell me if he thinks she did a good job!

    (Please come to my wedding and wear a hat – that outfit looks stunning!)

    x

    • Posted April 2, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      Ha! That bikini wax comment is hilarious! :)

    • Posted April 2, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      Best comment ever!! Love the bikini wax pros and cons!

      • Katie
        Posted April 2, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        Still chuckling at this comment! xx

    • Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      It’s hours later an I am still laughing about the bikini wax. What is it with all these disappearing best friends??!

      I hope you have a lovely hen do. My hat and I are available for the entire wedding season so just say the word x

      • Laura C
        Posted April 2, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        Heh – i’m loving my silly blunt-ness has tickled you. Perhaps this is why my bestie disappeared eh!? There’s just some things friends don’t do….

  6. Sandra C
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    I too couldn’t have written tftmmm. I have had best friends at school, but since uni have moved around a lot, so now have one close friend from school, who lives miles away. Were in regular contact, but rarely see each other. Like Alex, I’ve made friends recently in the internet with whom I have lots in common and this has been the making of me. I don’t think its unusual at all now, with people moving around so much.

    • Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      definitely. It connects people in such an amazing way. I have daily contact with people all over the world! Amazing stuff and you can do it in your PJs looking a right old mess and they don’t even know.

  7. Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Anna, my phone’s not working so I can’t tweet the bejeezus out of this post like it deserves, but I just want to say that I love this piece with all my heart. From a girl who was also bullied a lot at secondary school and never fitted in, I know exactly how you feel. I do now have some “best friends” – I found them at uni, but it took a long time. And it’s not the “tell everything to over DVDs and wine” best friend that I always wanted but never had. I guess it’s about making female friendships work for you and the perfect female friendship will be different in makeup for everybody.

  8. Gemma B
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Wow Anna, I didn’t expect to spend my monday morning hugging my americano in floods of tears. You got me I’m a wreck. A combination of already knowing you and thinking you are always so confident, funny, a great mum to your son and always the one with the best ideas (who knew you could have your own ski party with a fondue and dress up at home-genius) anyway I think your AOW post today made me so emotional and sad (I’m still crying) because I too was the girl on the outside. The ‘fat’ one who was a bit posh and had a nice house. I had a few ‘friends’ but I wasn’t invited/wanted to be the “Best Friend”  Im not going to lie it was tough and I was heavily bullied and didn’t tell a soul for three years. I think you are right though, as you get older you learn more about yourself and which characteristics you look for in a friend that you can have fun with. I still have a wobble now and again, I had to fill in a form at work & write my next of kin down in Brighton. I promptly burst into tears in front of the HR woman thinking ‘I don’t have anyone you can call, but ring my mum and she will find a way’. I have slowly have built up a small network of friends, that I feel really close to and moving to Brighton taught me who I was and the friends I wanted to build around me. I should tell you though,  if you weren’t popular at school then you have sure made up for it now. Not only do you have a lovely family, you have a really really lovely blog (which by the way has inspired me to start writing again..watch this space new blog on its way) but also to be creative, have a 30 things to do before I’m 30 list, shop at gingers jewellery, buy big balloons, tweet more and get your number from K to rekindle our friendship. Thank you as always for sharing, and being so inspiring. I’m off to buy jewellery and blow up balloons. 

    Much love 
    Gemma xx

    • Posted April 19, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

      Gemma- I’ve only just seen this!!!! Will message you xx

  9. Posted April 2, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Anna this was an ace bit of writing! And some excellent hat action.

  10. Posted April 2, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Thank you all for commenting. I’m about to get on a plane and my phone is USELESS at blog comments so I will be back. It means a lot to me that you have all responded so kindly x

  11. Posted April 2, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    First off, Anna this may be slightly awkward but you look so beautiful in that last picture. I am experiencing very severe hair envy. You can totally come to my wedding!

    Second, this is such a brilliant post. I adore it.

    I wasn’t picked on much at school, nothing out of the ordinary, but only because I expended a lot of energy and effort making sure I was entirely nondescript and inoffensive. And even then I was definitely called a boffin a LOT. I had lots of friends and I even had ‘best friends’… but they weren’t really best friends. I just wanted a best friend so much, I would light upon any new friendship and give it my whole attention, forcing an intimacy that couldn’t last and changing myself subtly to try and make myself more like the girl I was trying to best-friend. I wanted so much to be the kind of girl who HAD a best friend, who talked on the phone to them for hours, who spent whole days just hanging out with them. More and more, as I get older, I realise that I don’t need one best friend, I have an incredible close family, and a handful of really wonderful friends. None of them is the mythical best friend I dreamed of, but between them, I’m doing pretty alright. To be honest, I think we’re all doing something right.

    K x

    K x

    • Carly
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      I second the hair comment! Can you do a ‘how to’ on here?

  12. Posted April 2, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Anna when I first started reading this I thought how sad that you had such a rotten time and thought how different your experience was to mine. My school years on the whole were some of my best, I generally loved the atmosphere of the all girls school I went to. I guess I just fell into the right crowd (never the most or the least popular crowd) with some real characters. Then again, I hardly see any of them now, we’ve pretty much become strangers again apart from one or two exceptions. That does make me sad.

    There were also some horrid times at school that this post has reminded me of. Growing up in public, as we all do when we’re at school, is horrid at times. And I can relate a lot to what you’ve said. If we had known each other at school together I’m pretty certain we would have been friends. I bloody love geraniums. I was in the chess club. No wonder nobody wanted to dance with me at the school discos with the neighbouring all boys school. However, I should probably say now that I would have been so jealous of your school photo, mine were all disastrous past the age of 6 which was when I acquired Dierdre glasses (at the time I thought I looked so cool and bookish) and my hair became monstrously thick and wavy (in a bad way). Remember the Rachel haircut? On me that looked like two haircuts in one. My year 11 school photo was not my proudest moment. Yes, I’m cringing.

    I wish I could tell my teenage self about ghd’s too (and contact lenses!). And about the boy I’d meet many years later who would become the best friend I’d ever have.

    Whilst I can’t be glad you haven’t found the ideal female friend (whatever that means) it’s so apparent that your story is not that different from many of our own. And that’s why I’m so glad you submitted this. I’m only sad my wedding has been and gone, I would have loved you (and The Hat) to have come along

    • Jenny
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      Lucy, that two haircuts in one comment is hilarious! Also, I’d like to add a ‘hell yea’ with a fist pump to the boy being the best friend you’ll ever have!

    • Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      So lovely to marry your best friend!!

      I definitely think it’s made me different now- I am not confident in groups of women at all and I am not always very tolerant of new people which has its pros and cons. I’m used to spending time on my own so I don’t always let people in very well.

  13. Katie
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    I clicked onto AOW this morning, saw it was FTMMM series, and didn’t bother to read it straight away. I can never usually relate to this series. I am so glad I returned to it, as I can relate to this post!

    I went from a small country village primary school, where I was very happy, with a lovely group of friends, to a private school. I didn’t fit in – I didn’t know how to swear, act cool, or dress. The other girls never seemed to like me, for me, and I could never be any different. It wasn’t all bad, as I made some friends amongst the other non-conformers, and there is one I still keep in touch with, and was part of my wedding. However, I never made a best friend.

    It wasn’t till university, that I met the two girls, who are my best friends.

    Picking the bridesmaids was easy. For the hen do, my bridesmaids insisted on a weekend away. It didn’t concern me only having a close group of friends, and there were 12 of us for the weekend (including five family – three cousins and two sister in laws). However one of my friends (who’d had about 25 girls at her hen weekend), asked when we all got together in the morning, is this all there is? She has never been my most tactful friend! Some of the other girls looked a tad embarrassed, but it was fine, and we had a wonderful weekend. I’m actually very happy with a small group of friends, and close knit family.

    It’s just taken me a long time, to have this small group of friends.

    xx

    • Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      I’m glad you came back!

      You have no idea how much all these comments mean to me. All these women who feel or have experienced the same. It has made me so pleased that I wrote it and then in a moment of what I thought was madness send it in!

      I’m very happy with my little group and family too.

      Anna x x

  14. Rach M
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Anna this is a great piece and really rang true for me too. I hated school. I always had Sunday night fear and hated going back after holidays. I remember an excruciating conversation with my Mum, who told me she was really worried about me and was almost at the point of going out and trying to find me friends herself. The lowest point of all – which I’ve never told anyone, but here you go internet – was one Saturday where I told Mum I was meeting friends from school in town, just to get her to stop worrying when really I went to library and read all afternoon. I was lucky at Uni in that I found some brilliant friends who I’m still close to now. It has been much easier making friends as an adult and I’m really happy with the friends I have but I too wish we’d had blogging around back then.

    I would have liked to have known you back then too – I’d have been up for being a geranium guardian.

    Ps Totally second the school pic comment – you look gorgeous! I had braces, a perm and tortoishell glasses.
    Pps If I end up having any room left, you & the hat can come to my wedding!!

    • Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      The library story isn’t far off some of my own so you’re not alone on that one. By the age of 14 I had literally ready EVERY SINGLE BOOK in the Young Adult section.

  15. Katrina
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    I am not alone! I had actually thought that I was the only one and even cried about how unbalanced the guest list is at my wedding.
    Until I started thinking about our wedding I hadnt really thought about it, I like my own company and the fact that I don’t have hundreds of friends hasn’t ever bothered me. I had a similar experience to you at school and then I left college pretty abruptly and not getting chance for goodbyes and not thinking to get contact details for friends and then not going to Uni I fell like I missed out on the opportunity to build a friendship group.
    Though that said, my sister will be my bridesmaid at our wedding and I have been loving the opportunity to spend time with her and we are closer now then we have been for a long time.

    • Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      I think I know which Katrina this is and thank you for commenting. I’m glad you have realised you’re not alone too!! Hope you’ve read some of these amazing comments.

      • Jenny
        Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        Katrina, that’s such a good way of putting it – I like my own company too. Not in a narcissistic way but I’m happy spending time alone. Whereas my husband hates it. I guess it comes from being quite an independent child. I’ve grown up being used to doing things for myself, getting myself places so now I find it hard to accept help. Maybe that’s why I haven’t latched on to anyone as a best friend, I always keep a bit of distance.

        Wow this is like therapy!

  16. Katy
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Blimmin heck! are you sure we arent the same person in different bodies? – this really rings true and at some points I actually had to check you werent writing about me!

    Like for example – curly hair and the cutting short – I actually burst into tears half way throught he cut in the hirdressers because I could see how bad it was. The hairdresser (bless her soul) had to keep going. I think it was that and the trauma of having to look in the mirron so long – does anyone else find that uncomfortable???

    AND being chairman of the Ecology club. BEFORE ecology sort of became cool and bohemian. I mean, I dug that flipping school pond for a whole saturday and watched (and documented) those frogs grow only to find them stabbed and layed out next to the pond months later. Thats how popular ecology club was at my school.

    I did have friends though, but none I keep in touch with. I am always jealous of people that have kept their friends – sometimes it seems to me that I am somehow wrong because I cant keep my friends. But, I moved around the world as a young child (primary age) and learnt at a very early age that most friends are friends of consequence (i.e. you are friends with someone who is going through the same thing as you at the same time and then you drift apart). I never had a best friend, but grew up a lot on my GAP Year (met El Chico which probably helped!) and now have 2 excellent friends from university and one from down the road from my Mums house! And, I have a few more excellent friends from university (ecologists!).

    My mother always worried about friendships. In fact, now she always makes a joke of me not having any friends. Yes, my hen do was mostly my aunties (young, cool aunties!) my Mum, my Nana, 5 of my friends and then quite a lot of my Mums. My Mum was the popular girl at school, you see, and I dont think she ever understood why I found it so hard to make friends and keep them.

    But, I thank heavens for my friends and bridesmaids (I had 2 bridesmaids) that I have and all I have to remember when I get a wee bit jealous is “Its quality not quantity” and that, actually, I have an ace best friend that I just got married to (although he does get tired too early when we go shoe shopping!)

    I LOVED YOUR POST and thats probably why I poured out such a long comment. Can we be friends too?

    • Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Oh my goodness, the pond story. I am laughing and crying at the same time like a nutter. You poor thing. I remember digging for hours and hours and it was right next to the netball pitch! (seriously, what was that teacher thinking??!!) hahaha

      Glad we can laugh about it now. I didn’t leave my house for about a week after the haircut fiasco and am still terrified of even just going for a trim!

      We can definitely be friends Katy- thank you for such a lovely comment!! x x x

  17. Peridot
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Well it looks like there are rather a lot of us with the same school experience, no?! I spent all my time at my all girls’ school trying to essentially be invisible: I learnt never to speak in lessons, never to meet anyone’s eye, to position myself always where I’d be least noticeable. And one of the girls still pushed me out of a moving (slowly!) train when I was on crutches with a broken ankle – for a laugh. And this was a public school – so no excuse for being a deprived rough area. And I don’t think I was a particularly unappealling child. It was a relief to go to an all boys’ school for 6th form – they took a handful of girls for the 6th form. Yes, boys can be cruel but it’s a less insidious and bitchy form of cruelty – less mindfuckery.

    Friendship is a funny thing. I have 2 really good friends and a handful of other good friends – but you really need to all be at the same lifestage. My two best friends both have small children who are their worlds and so I rarely see them now. I know they’re there for me but I miss their physical presence in my life.

    • Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      Those friends will come back- it is such a different world when you have a baby but you pull yourself together after a while. They’re probably missing you a lot too!! x x x

  18. Jeanie
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    ME TOO.

    I <3 AOW and FTMMM

    Isn't it great to feel so normal? Thank you Anna. xxx

  19. Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Becci- I cannot tell you how nervous I was after hitting send on this!! Poor Anna got the most stupid email of her life I think I actually wrote eeeeeek and sent it at about 2am because I knew I’d chicken out if I didn’t send it right that second I finished it.

  20. Jenny
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Anna, I’m so glad you were brave enough to submit this post. It is brilliant – not your suffering at school, but the relief I’m feeling that I’m not the only one who doesn’t have a best friend! Other than my husband I think the only time I had a best friend was when I was 9-11. Our family moved away so I lost touch with her and ever since I’ve never had a particular closeness to one person. Throughout school I had a group of friends but most of them were paired up into besties and I, like you, tended to find I got on better with the boys. I was friends with a group of girls at uni but they meet up/go on trips together still and don’t even invite me anymore. Whereas the closest friend I had was a guy who I’m still in touch with and whose daughter was our flower girl at our wedding.

    When I was choosing bridesmaids the first person I turned to was my sister and my husband had his brother as his best man (who he considers to be his best friend). I had a couple of friends as the other bridesmaids who I’ve known since school but I fall in and out of touch with them and they’re better friends with each other than with me. If I’m completely honest I’d say over the years I’ve given up time with friends to have time with my husband (then bf). I’m not saying you can’t have both, but I’ll never regret not having a best girlfriend because in exchange I got a best friend who is also my husband.

    Thanks so much for writing this, Anna. It’s so great to hear others having the same experience. Up until now I’d allowed Hollywood rom coms to convince me that everyone has a best friend!

    xXx

    P.S. Is it wrong to be contemplating having a child now so I can meet other women like me? ;)

    • Jenny
      Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      Oh and the hen do issue? I sent a list of people to invite to my bridesmaids and the small group of people that did turn up was shocking really (fairly late notice but still!) We had a fab weekend anyway with just my closest, but going out and seeing loads of other hen paties with huge groups didn’t make me feel great!

      Man I sound like such a bitter saddo!

      • Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        I think we can probably blame the rom coms for hen do’s too!!

        You don’t sound bitter. I love that so many people have resonated with this. We can all have realistic expectations a little more maybe knowing this is normal.

        xx

    • Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      Love that last bit!! DO NOT have a child just for this reason- there are some absolute nutters at playgroups!!!!!!! you have been warned lady! (pahahahahaha)

      Those damn rom coms have a lot to answer for!

      • Jenny
        Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        Ok, ok I won’t. It was a tad extreme I’ll admit. :)

  21. Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    I think everyone’s said it all, but I’m THRILLED that you had the guts to write this. I loved Jenny’s comment about how Hollywood romcoms make her believe everyone has a best friend. So funny – and today proves that it’s NOT TRUE.
    x

  22. Rowan
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Like many others, this rings very true for me – thanks for writing this Anna!

    I moved primary school loads of times which didn’t help me learn how to make friends and I was always happier with animals than people. I moved secondary schools – to an all girls school – just after everyone had solidified their friendship groups and that was it set, from year 7, I was the girl that joined late, who’s mother never took much notice of the school uniform and sent me to school in whatever we already had, and was never fully accepted into the established friendship groups but flitted between them and made a point of making friends with anyone new!

    I did make some good friends at university but even now wouldn’t say I have a ‘best friend.’

    I’m getting married later this month (stressed, me? yes) and wedding planning has brought many questions about friendships back up but I think has actually helped me to realise I have a wonderful bunch of people around me. Many of them are rubbish at staying in touch with me so I find myself doing the running but I’m not going to let my pride get in the way of spending time with people I like. People keep saying we’re having a small wedding; actually we’ve invited everyone we wanted to invite.

    I decided against any bridesmaids (there are no sisters in any direction) but he has 2 best men (thanks…) and I am starting to wonder who’s going to help me into my dress!

    I found the whole hen do thing incredibly stressful. My other half was always going to have a stag do as he has a big group of friends who are good at organising themselves for weekends away, I didn’t want to be left out so did ask a good friend to organise a hen do for me (left to my own devices it wouldn’t have happened). I went for a fairly low-key (but in the end much fun) night out in London with a (not very big but very lovely) group of friends; in part I was a bit too scared to demand a weekend away all about me in case no-one turned up, the prospect of which would have just made me (more) stressed.

    I should go and organise that wedding now…

  23. Emily
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    It’s funny, I didn’t read this yesterday because I find these posts hard to relate to. I’m an only child and while I had “best friends” when I was younger they were never really from school and I’m not in touch with them now. I had friends, but looking back I think I always wished I was cooler, so missed out on making really good friends with people I might still be in touch with (again, internet admission of something I’m not sure I’ve ever said before!). So I don’t have any school friends coming to the wedding at all.

    But I was incredibly lucky at university and law school and met some really lovely girls who are good friends now. I have two close friends who are my bridesmaids and who are amazing, but still no best friend, really. I think it is partly that I am fairly self sufficient, and partly that I am very close to my mother, so have never really needed someone to spend hours on the phone to (that sounds a bit weird but it is a good thing!). And now I have K.

    But I still wish I fitted in more easily and was better at being part of the crowd. I’m still quite a loner and also happy pottering about in my own company.

    Anna, thank you for writing this. And as a fellow hat lover, I LOVE that hat!

    Emily xx

  24. Helena
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Weirdly I’m the other way round – I had a best friend at school but we have drifted apart (due to living at opposite ends of the country), as I have with my friends from university so now most of the friends I have are people I know via my fiance. While I get on well with them there’s nobody that I feel is a best friend or is somebody that I could confide in. I am incredibly lucky to have a sister who fulfils at least part of that role though. It is hard when I look at the colour coded wedding guest list though and see that there are only 3 friends in my colour and about 20 in my fiance’s.
    I too blame Hollywood and Sex and the stupid City for giving us the idea that you’re somehow not complete without a bevvy of best friends!

  25. Posted April 4, 2012 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Just throwing this out there but having read (and reflected) on these comments…I might not be the only person here who would enjoy going to the WI. I mean, where else can people meet new interesting female friends in your 20′s and 30′s that isn’t an exercise class *shudder* or work (work for myself, I love spending time with my boss but she gets a little samey, you know?) I feel a post coming on. Anyone else a modern WI-er?

    • Posted April 4, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      I actually left the WI as the group I joined started out small in a school hall and was fantastic but got far too big and moved to a theatre restaurant and ended up being like an AGM rather than a fun meeting.

      To be fair, the breakout groups seemed to be very popular though like book groups, theatre, crafts etc. You had to go to the monthly meets to be a part of them though.

      It’s certainly a good way to meet people though. Just have to find the right group.

  26. Posted April 4, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    Dear Anna,

    Thank you for having the bravery, and the kindness, to write this post. I read it at a time when I have been thinking a lot about friendship and weddings, and how they intertwine, and throw light and shadow upon each other. I wouldn’t write a FTMMM post, although I could. I have four friends, one of them a man, to whom I attribute a significant part of the me that I’ve become – because of guidance at pivotal points on the journey, thoughts of theirs which have become mine, things I do without thinking which they have taught me. But I wouldn’t write those posts because my friendship with none of them is straightforward. I never will have a posse of best girlies with whom I’ll dance around drinking wine and painting our faces as we get ready to go out. I’m not going to have any bridesmaids (and not even my beloved sister, because it’s not really “us”), and there’s no-one that I think will be hurt by that because I don’t have that kind of friendship with anyone. And I used to think it was my fault, that I was lacking something which meant that nobody wanted that kind of friendship with me. And maybe it is, and maybe I do – and looking at wedding blogs recently has really twisted the wee knife which is occasionally there.

    So I am grateful to you for this post, more than you can imagine. Because it makes me think that even if there is something wrong with me, and I’m out on a limb here, I’m not the only one out on a limb somewhere. And if there are people like you out on various limbs round and about, well, I am glad to be in such company. Thank you!

    Philippa

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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