Whenever I’m at home in Australia I always feel extra grateful for my childhood friends. They know my life, family and all the dramas in between, it’s easy. As a child you make friends so simply. Then somewhere along the line you become an adult and all of a sudden friends are harder to come by and even harder to keep. Friendships require more effort and time and sometimes it just feels a bit too much like hard work!
I have the most amazing bunch of girl friends in Australia called The Netty Girls. We all met through netball when we were around 10 years old and have continued to be a close-knit group through the years. Together we’ve weathered wins and loses on and off the court, divorces, moves, bad boyfriends, questionable hair cuts and even worse eye brows, weddings, babies and just life. When I get home to Australia they are the first people on my list to squeeze and have a cuppa with and every single time it’s like no time has passed at all. We didn’t go to school together so we also have other friendship groups but our little Netty group has always been so special to me.
While I was home I met a girl from Scotland who had been living in Melbourne for 2 years. We got talking about all things international moves and she asked me how I went about making friends in the UK and if my Australian friends were upset by it! I was so confused. Why would my Australian friends be upset. She then proceeded to tell me that for the past 2 years in Melbourne she hadn’t made friends because she didn’t want her Scottish friends to be jealous and feel like she had moved on from them.
I was floored. This poor girl had been living on the opposite side of the world for 2 years actively trying not to make solid friendships because she thought it would upset others! I quickly told her that any friend that was mad about her making a friend isn’t a friend worth having. Just the idea that you can’t be friends with more than a certain number of people is boggling to me and if they were mad about it that it says a lot more about them than her.
When I moved to the UK I knew I had to make a firm basis of friends. I had no one but Greig and I didn’t want to be reliant on him for everything. I joined every group you could imagine, netball, basketball, card making classes, The WI, floristry classes, the library, you name it I belonged to it. I needed to find my people. It never occurred to me that my girlfriends back in Australia would be angry about that because surprise-they weren’t. Why would your friends want you to be lonely? I actually love that some of my Aussie friends and English friend know each other these days and are now friends!
We have more ways than ever to stay in touch and foster friendships and yet there are so many lonely people. Have we just forgotten how to be real life friends? Or are we like this girl afraid that others won’t like it?
My hope for everyone in life is to find a friendship group like The Netty Girls. We can go long distances without speaking because life, but our GIF game in our Facebook group is strong and I know that if ever I need any one of them they will be at the other end of the phone. Because like you’ve probably heard a million time and seen on a fridge magnet your friends are the family you choose for yourself!