You’ve watched the movie with Sandra/Reece/Julia (take your pick) and in all of these movies there is the sassy best friend, the quirky one. The one who let’s the leading lady realise how amazing she is and how she can get that guy! There is a male equivalent too, the hilarious comedy sidekick who’s life revolves around the lead actor and who’s pivotal role is to make the lead actor look good. Well what happens to these characters when the lead actors they so dutifully support ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. Do we remember them? Was there only purpose in the film to act as a plot device for the two main stars to meet? These sidekicks have been in theatre and film since it began but do you ever feel like you are living these roles in real life?
Are you the person who’s always there for your friends but never really there for yourself? You see it all the time, the designated driver on the night out, the one who because you don’t drink has to make sure everyone gets home. The person who is always there for everyone else’s problems, the good friend the counsellor but the one person everyone thinks is alright, the rock of the group. Maybe they are but maybe they’d appreciate someone asking how they are doing?
Have you found yourself being that person? I know I have at times. Sometimes we take on the role that people expect of us and then in some ways we feel safe in that role, but it can also be quite limiting particularly when circumstances change. I’ve been the “fun” one “the good listener”, “the nurturer” and yes I am all of those things and am proud I am all of those things, but sometimes I might not feel like being those things and might want someone to be those things for me. Do you know what I mean? In my twenties for my good female friends I’d be the confidente, the one that put the pieces back together after a break up. The one that was always organising something fun to make sure everyone was great. Nothing wrong with that on the surface but when you start to live your life pleasing others then that’s not healthy. I had one best friend who I would do that all for and didn’t mind it, until I was heartbroken and the response was “your so strong, you’ll be fine” I wasn’t so strong and she couldn’t see it, so look at your friends even the strongest and most confident ones and treat them in the way that they have treated you. Don’t be complacent about people’s kindness and dismissive of their own needs and support.
Don’t surround yourself with people who don’t appreciate you. We all change and grow that’s a fact. Some people however feel comfortable with keeping you at 18 year old you. Have you been in those social situations meeting new people when a friend regales embarrassing stories from your past? You laugh it off but in your head you thinks shut up I’m not that person anymore. Or have you got a job/applied for a course and a friend has been dismissive of it, well you know what that is, jealousy pure and simple.
In my twenties I had friends that would tell me I was too fat, or you’d be really hot if you spent more time in the gym, to those that would call me ice maiden because I didn’t sleep with everyone I said hello to. That was about them not me. I know that. Friends, good friends will embrace the things that are different about each other, be supportive and will know when someone is not themselves. We can stick with people because we have a shared history but sometimes that can drift and sometimes it’s best to acknowledge that. Sometimes we move somewhere and we need to grab friends out of necessity who might not be the ordinary people we’d hang out with. That can be amazing but if it’s not then just think of it as a journey to get to the people that truly appreciate you.
Have you been that person that’s flirted with someone who’s really into you only to back off because your friend fancies them. Or the one at a club who’s left dancing round the bags to some club anthem while your mate is snogging in the corner. You not only think “why don’t they play something I can sing along to” but also “why is it always me.. Why can’t I be the one snogging in the corner”.. Maybe you don’t but you get the idea. Do you have that friend that can’t hold their liquor? Or the one with aggressive tendencies after a few beers. Are you the mediator, the one that calms things down, the one that makes sure she gets home without vomiting in the taxi..? Well you know what you don’t have to be that person.. Remember that. Those qualities are admirable but if you know every time you go out with Tracy that come 2am you’ll be in the bag of a cab as she cries with the windows down so she gets some air and doesn’t vomit then that’s not good.
Start to do things that you want to do. Mix your circles up. You can still be friends with Tracy but you don’t have to be her nanny/carer. It’s ok to do what makes you happy! It doesn’t make you selfish, you’ve probably been selfless for too long anyway so let that hair down and do whatever makes you smile (as long as it’s legal of course) .