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Friendship, Bond or Bondage?

Friendship, Bond or Bondage?

When we imagine a great girlie friendship usually it’s the image of us sitting closely laughing, doing our nails, whispering special secrets in one another’s ears, sleepovers, so many positive connotations that reflect what friendships should look like.

I don’t see it that way! Since becoming a mum and wife, I made that deadly choice of putting them at the forefront of everything I do, and this has meant sporadic friendships. I personally look at friendships as bondage rather than bonds. It sounds irrationally harsh, but friendships to me mean working around external entities to the already perfect unit I have at home. Bringing other people’s outlooks, opinions and views into my perfect world as I see it.

I am selfish, I get this, but this means not having very close relationships in the form of friends allows me to express myself without any boundaries. I can imagine people reading this are thinking, “has she ever experienced real friends?”, “When her children grow up she will regret it!”, “She will be a lonely old, miserable lady!”

I get it, the weird personal choices we make are usually approached with sneers, confusion and unknowing anticipation that the person fails at their bizarre lifestyle choice. I will never be Vegan even though I hate red meat, love veg and grow all our vegetable in our garden. I just hate limitations and too many boundaries; thus the reason I can’t have serious, long-term friendships.

friendships bonds or bondage
friendships bonds or bondage

I had one friend but after having a child and getting married, that relationship came to a very abrupt halt, and I never heard from him until he left the country not long ago (he is gay in case anyone thinks he had a crush on me). The relationship was perfect, I was not emotionally restricted, and he was honest in helping me make those changes we need to make as we turn into adults. I’d known him since school, but we really forged a strong bond when we lived together for almost 9 years. Our maisonette in deep East London was a happy place, we coexisted peacefully without any interruptions to our own personal space, the relationship worked, well!

After getting married I waited 7 years to make new friends, maybe I waited too long? Perhaps it was just the inevitable thing to do? Maybe it’s essential for me to be an example to my children who themselves are learning to make friends? I am still figuring this part out. The friends I made are from our neighbourhood and through running a childminding business. They are all fantastic people who have contributed to the well-balanced life we have. We often have them over, and I do enjoy deep, sentimental conversations over a few drinks as our children play in our perfectly designed garden.

Everyone knows I can talk for a whole city and my opinions are honest and sometimes uninhibited. I know myself for the most part (through trial and error), and I am incredibly proud of the person I have become, far from perfect but definitely smarter, self-assured and up-front! Being around other people, coming from the background I have, means I always have my guard up. I know I am not the only female (without generalising) who will analyse every word, opinion and conversation with a fine-tooth comb. It’s not that I am trying to find fault, I like to think leaving people to their devices is a trait I can learn to master and carry with me like a beautiful fascinator. I am seriously protective over our lives and opinions, that’s all.

Having friends means expressing these naturally without judgment but people judge, I think as adults we have all established this by now, if not then, “Hi, I’m an adult, and I’m learning not to judge!”

I can only break down my ideal friendship like this:

  1.  A 2-way conversation where you can talk freely about your choices and opinions without judgement. Opinions are only valid when asked for, a lot of adults I’ve come across feel a conversation is an open door to their outlook on how to live our lives. Opinions and my general excitement about my life and decisions I make are two different things, and I generally do not ask for people’s opinions unless you are a professional in the area my question is aimed at. Therefore, if I don’t ask, don’t tell me.
  2. Love me for who I am, my faults and successes. I will do the same, I am happy to stand by loyal external companions who respect (maybe not always agree) my unique and wild views of the world.
  3. Don’t judge me, or try not to, we can work on this incredible characteristic together. Judgment in friendship stems from jealousy and blinded contentment for life as you know it, without trying to explore other realms of life, someone else’s life.
  4. Respect is key, fundamental to a thriving friendship or any relationship for that matter. I have come across lots of people like this, but my vision for a perfect life seems to end in the little home we have created with my best friend, my husband. He gets that I am hard to please and that living a life on the edge is what keeps my blood flowing.

So, to my friends (you know who you are), I value our relationships but keeping a safe distance suits me, it suits my journey and helps me, as a mum; one of the driving forces to what we see success to be, stay focused on what makes us keep this ship sailing. My friends play a significant role in my life, social interaction is character building, but I like that it is not permanent.

Friendships to me are like seasons, they come and go and are ever changing, in the summer months the trees are fruitful, and the birds sing sweet songs, those are the friendships I like.

 

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FRIENDSHIP, BOND OR BONDAGE? What do friendships mean when you are married with children? Do you have the time to make things work? Is it worth it? Sabena explains all...

A 30-something with a passion for life and most of all for her family. She spends her days not only working alongside her husband as a childminder but focussing on raising two beautiful daughters. Sabena is a former fashion student and keeps her creative juices flowing by blogging. Her world currently revolves around her children, however, she has a keen interest in gardening and her unexpected love of writing.

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