So a few months back I was chatting to some of my mates about that whole ‘getting older’ thing. You know – the bits you didn’t know that happen in your late 20s but inevitably do. Like you’re friends’ brains suddenly being kidnapped by permanent baby talk and how the temporary pause in gift giving (after the a few years of the dreaded 21sts) suddenly gives way to engagement gifts, wedding gifts, hens, 30ths and baby showers (one ritual I’m convinced we only stole off the States to get more unnecessary presents)… or the sudden urge to want to eat healthy (weird) and keep stuff clean (although, yes, everyone does have that one drawer).
Anyway, one of the things that came up but you never get told about before is the ‘big clear out’. We’re not talking about those bins you meant to take out last week (ugh, bin juice) or those ugg boots (sod it, they’re comfy). We’re talking about the friends clear out… when you start sussing the good eggs from the bad and figuring who you really wana spend time, a penny or a pint with.
When you reach your late 20s, you’ve generally got to a stage in life (and are still alive, well done you) where you’re much more comfortable in your own skin. You care less about what the group thinks or what the top ten is on Spotify and more about what makes YOU happy. Sounds awesome, yeah? Wellllll, you’re also working your butt off and have a lot less spare time. So, in short, you know more about what makes you happy but, um, you have a lot less time for it!
Suddenly we don’t have time for everyone anymore and – let’s face it, if we’re honest, we all have that friend that just well… sucks. They’re just a sponging, time-wasting, ball-of-negativity-pushing, attention-seeking void of darkness on our Friday evening. So erm, why are they still in our lives?!
And that’s where the friend dumping comes in. Which you can do one of two ways. The first is via the classic ‘I’m just going to ignore them until they get the hint and go away’. Vintage shitty friend move. Your parents have used this one, and your great great granddaddy too. It’s a tried and tested oldie but a goodie
Unfortunately however, ‘thanks’ to social media it’s got near impossible to ignore the status updates, the friend re-requests, the snaps, the public tweets. Which brings us to option number two…
Frumping is friend dumping… but in an extremely conscious way. And it seems the much favoured option amongst my own mates of late (guess I better watch out)! For a frumping to occur you must literally ‘break up’ with a friend. Three separate mates have even reported physically listing the friends they want to keep, then biting the bullet and ‘breaking up’ with the ones they don’t want to see again at the next opportunity. Sounds strange and more than a little cold, no?
But then I thought about it some more…
Despite not knowing each other, they’ve all curated their ‘ultimate friends list’ the same way – and it’s all about who ultimately makes them feel happier. I’m not talking about the people that flatter them the most, invite them to the best parties or give the best prezzies. It’s more to do with trust, reliability, honesty, things in common and being able to have a great laugh.
All stuff, you might say, we look for in a great relationship… and then analyse, obsess about and scrutinise for the rest of it. The weird thing is though, with many friendships lasting much longer than our one-on-one relationships… how come we don’t give them quite as much conscious attention?
Why does giving conscious attention to friendships seem like such a ‘cold’ concept?
When someone in a one-on-one relationship lies constantly, consistently turns up late or flakes out, is all take, or makes us feel bad about ourselves, we get out of those relationships fast. But too often when it comes to our friends we just let it slide – perhaps choosing to bitch behind their backs instead.
Perhaps in providing the new problen with trying to ditch a bad friend, social media has also provided ‘permission’ for frumping behaviour in the ‘real’ world because it happens in social (we’ve all been victims and perpetrators of The Facebook Cull)…
Perhaps it is better to just cut the cord with the flakes, spongers, the me-me-me-ers, the ‘Im insecure so need to put you down’ types and the balls of negativity.
Perhaps it’s just better to be honest with a ‘friend’ next time you’re asked about that monthly coffees and tell them kindly but firmly ‘look, I don’t think this is working out?’.
Who knows, maybe they’ve been dying for an out and will be relieved you’re just not that into them either…