The Go to Girl

I’m not saying this to boast, or to sound like I know everything, I know very little about anything and things I do know i’m limited on. Like everyone I speak from experience and musing only, that is all we have to go on, things we know, and what we think we think about the things we don’t. Apparently, I’m ok at it. I’m everyone’s go to girl,

Now when I say everyone, I do mean, everyone. Family, friends, Uni friends, best friends, family members friends, people I don’t really know that well at all – acquaintances we’ll call them. I don’t know what it is but apparently I seem to be able to hit the nail on the head. What that means is I guess up to the person who’s asking for the advice, but alot of the time it comes down to, getting how they feel and what they want.

Well, everyone can give advice lets me fair, but everyone can also give bad advice, or off the cuff advice – ill thought out or barely thought about at all. My advice is simple, and it comes from reading people. I spend a lot of time observing human behaviour. That sound odd, i’m not David attenborough for mankind but I do people watch – incessantly. With a coffee, out for a walk, in lectures… Its amazing what you pick up on. I think this helps to relate to people, we all have the same problems, the same insecurities, and if they seem different, underneath everything it’ll be something we’ve felt ourselves.

Advice isn;t about mere reassurance, it’s about practical home truths, not being harsh for harshness sake but being truthful and fair. Example, if a friend is fretting about losing her partner and she can’t see what she’s done, let her talk ask some questions and low and behold she probably did do something. So don’t say, you idiot, but say, do you think maybe he was feeling… yada yada yada. In hearing something that they maybe don’t want to admit to themselves, they’ll have a moment of realisation. Its not to go grovelling back, but its about accepting whats happened, finding whats upsetting you and moving on from it.

Most strife, worry and angst, comes because people don’t know what they are feeling or what the root cause of the issue is, when they find it, suddenly everything falls into place, and that’s usually my bit. The second important bit. Share. I always talk about my own life, I put it into context. As I’ve said before my life has had far too much drama for its age, I’ve had a lifetimes worth of angst in a short twenty something years, even my counsellors concur, so its important to make the person feel you understand. if its relationships, share a similar situation, friends, talk about that friendship  that broke down and still causes you hurt, but. Do not make it about you.

You are there for the person not to run off into your own woes and thoughts. It’s easily done, its my mums advice, she’ll say this is like, and half an hour later we’re still talking about my mum and her problems and I’m consoling her. Keep sharing relevant and make sure you relate it back to them with a helpful tip, how you got over it, how you came to realise, what you did, what you didn’t do, what. ever.

I enjoy being the go to girl. A lot of my friends i’m the sole person they can or will talk to about difficult things, and that makes you realise you really are treasured. It shows you taht your not just a fair weather friend and that your mates value your opinions and advice. I’m nicknamed wise owl in my group. I don’t think i’m wise at all, older than my years possibly, and to someone who’s young for their age, maybe we’re poles apart, but. I’m understanding, I listen, I observe and I care. Thats the clincher. If you care, you listen, if you listen you learn, you understand, you can relate better, you can advise better. You keeping making mistakes, you hear about other peoples, you learn from both and grow in emotional maturity.

People have rung me from South Africa when something’s gone wrong to talk to me, people have text me from Australia, Tokyo, Sweden… I get calls at 2 am, 4 am, at work and when I’m on the phone consoling someone else, and every time I’m there. Because that’s what being a friend is, putting the other person first when they need it, being their regardless, selflessly, because you genuinely care.

I’m told daily I should be an agony aunt, a counsellor, a sex therapist, a carer. Well, I think if I’m honest, I’m playing all of them already.

Like to be Liked.

What I’m about to say isn’t going to make me too popular I imagine, but I believe what I’m about to say many of us will have to admit to whether we like to or not. I’m talking about being liked. We all like, to be liked. Thats a given, no one wants enemies or adversaries, we all want to get along with people, to make friends, to fit in, be found funny, interesting, attractive…

That’s more to my point, we all secretly like to be liked, in that way. We all want to be fancied, to be found desirable, to be wanted by others. It’s a confidence kick, it’s a boost of the self-esteem, and it makes us feel alive. When you walk down the road, how many of us give people the eye, or catch people giving us it? It makes you feel good, gives you a smile, so you obligingly smile back at them, feeling a bigger spring in your step and lighter at heart.

How many boys walk along hand in hand with their girlfriend, their better half and shamelessly eye up every pair of legs, tits and pretty face that passes them by? Most. But what about the girls? We all walk with a gentle sway, up straight, we glance at faces as we pass them, we smile to ourselves and check ourselves out in shop windows… are we really any different? Do we walk in that way we know will attract attention because we like it? Do we secretly love it when someone chats us up in front of friends or even our partner, because it reminds them and you, your something worth keeping?

I don’t think its unfair to say most of us do, even those who are happily married, or settled, its human nature. After all window shopping is only the start. But what about something more? A friend of mine was chatting saying how she had snuggled up to someone she, knew she didn’t like that way, but knew he liked her… so that would be, Leading him on right? No. Its not all as black and white as that. If you aren’t making advances or promises, then I’ll disagree.

We’ve all wanted to be made to feel special, feel attractive, had someone to cuddle. It’s normally when we’re out of a breakup or single for a while – you get the blues. You just want that special someone there, the ex or mr/missus right and they’re not. But someone is, someone you care about, someone you’re comfortable with, that you can sit and cuddle, and laugh with, curl up on the sofa with under a blanket.

It isn’t something awful; taking it any further, well that’s different. That’s engaging sex and affection and emotion into the equation, and well know how those things complicate matters.  I’m a very tactile individual, with everyone, friends, people I’ve just met. I’m always one to put a hand on someone arm when I’m talking and lean in, to hug people I’ve just met, to lean my leg over someone when we’re sat talking… To me, its only natural. I’d find it odd to be the other way, so to me, a cuddle. Well its just a cuddle. It’s just you snuggling into someone for a bit of comfort, warmth and security, nothing to write home about.

So next time your with a friend, your feeling a bit lonely and they’ve popped over for company, you see them shuffle a bit closer, and you feel like laying against them. Do it, make a comment about having them there as a mate when you need them if you feel you need to lay down parameters. We’re all to fussy about being touchy feely, getting to close, about being over friendly, the barriers between men and women as friends. What does it matter? Really, no one can be hurt by a cuddle or a snuggle.

Firsts, Experiences and that ‘New’ Feeling.

“I’m giving up on girls, I’m giving up on the heartache, whats the point in it all, in setting yourself up for heartache or disappointment, who wants that?”

I do. This is a question posed to me by a friend the other day. I couldn’t quite understand, as for me. It’s always worth it. There is nothing more exciting or brilliant as getting to know someone. Talking to them, getting to know them as a person, being interested in them, what they have to say, involved in stories and experiences. Getting to know how they react to stuff, what they’re like deep down, not just the superficial, but under the façade.

Having all those debates on subjects, hearing their points of view, learning their voice and the way they think. Having that buzz of excitement when they text, that ridiculous smile on your face around them, the incessant grin. Laughing uncontrollably at what they say, as though your hearing humour for the first time…

And then there are the first times. The first time they touch you, your arm, hold your hand, the first time they make you laugh, your first play fight, the first kiss, the first fumble, the first encounter, the first experience, first dates, first meal out, first cinema trip, first walk, first words… Everything is so new, so refreshing. The world suddenly becomes more interesting as you see the world from someone else’s perspective…

To me – that’s all worth it. Whatever happens after, whether it all goes tits up, whether it ends in love, lust or heartache, whether you find you aren’t as well matched as you thought, or they turn out not to be the person you thought, that feeling, all of that, I wouldn’t pass that up. The giddiness, the happiness, the excitement, the expectation, the anticipation. It’s a feeling that s unique. Whatever comes to pass, you always have that, you always remember those first days, and the way they made you feel. When you feel unique, special, appreciated. You’re at your best.

“I smile a lot these days, and everyone knows. Everybody knows it’s because of you, everybody knows except you”

I would never pass up on an experience that made me happy, that gave me that feeling, that made everything  a little bit better. If you live your life thinking about the consequences, you’d never do anything. You have to live life for the moment and maybe a step or two ahead, but only positively.

I love people in general, I love getting to know people, I love talking to people I don’t know, when you just get talking to people, on trains, at a coffee shop, in a queue. People are interesting, other people’s lives are interesting. This morning I shared a table in a coffee shop with a woman, and we spoke for nearly an hour about everything, her life, her kids, her plastic surgery, life, people, from the personal to the political to the philosophical and back again. And I loved it, it made me smile. It made today better. It made her day better. It was friendly, and kind, and open.

Don’t pass up the opportunity to get to know someone, to be with someone, to talk to someone, because of the what ifs. What if they turn out to be your best mate, your future boss, the love of your life? That person that you can’t imagine not having in your life? Live for the experience, the feelings, live life, for the now.

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you”  – Dale Carnegie.

When you’re down, and troubled…

“…And you need a helping hand
and nothing whoa nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me
and soon I will be there
to brighten up even your darkest nights.

You just call out my name
and you know wherever I am
I’ll come running oh yeah baby
to see you again.”

It may be cheesy, and I’ve blogged about friends recently, but its all that I said before, I am lucky to have some amazing friends. This weekend, I needed some support, I wanted to see someone, my weekends plans fell through and I went from enlightened excitement to the biggest anti climax, and then. A light.

A simple text that made it all better. “I’m coming to see you”. It wasnt prompted nor was it planned, and yet three hours later one of my dearest friends stood on the platform at Norwich Station, bag in hand with a smile that made me realise, they were just as glad to see me as I were them.

Long late chats, cuddles and heart to hearts, its been an emotional weekend, and one that just confirmed how lucky I am to have friends surprise me, drop everything just to come put a smile on my face.

We are all incredibly blessed to have people in our lives that make it all seem better. To make a bad day good, a sad day better, A slow day, memorable. For all of those people in your life that mean as much to you as my friends do me, sit back and take a second to thank god, thank your life, thank whatever it is that you believe in, that your privileged enough to have people who care…

I’m not fickle fellow, i’m a fellow with a few faces.

I know I’m not a fickle person, and I’m not easily led. I know I’m not one for being dishonest, or being untrue to myself. But there is a natural phenomenon that I’m sure doesn’t just affect me. Its something that happens without thought or provocation, I’m not even aware it’s happened at all… well what I’m trying to say is…

I’m a different person around different people.

I know that sound bizarre as though you, put on a front or exaggerate certain characteristics of your own personality to fit in. Maybe you tell the occasional lie to blend in, about what you like, you’ve seen, or you do. But that’s not what I mean.

I’m referring to hats. We all have them, invisible as they are, a whole array of the most elaborate and interesting kinds. We’ve out work hat – professional, serious, forward thinking… our studying hat –  academic, philosophical, studious… our friend hat, caring, contemplative and kind… our daughter/son hat – young and still secretly wanting mum…

We all have a complex psyche, and we all have many layers and sides to our personality that reflect us in different ways. What amazes me is how people can only get to see one side, depending on what environment they see you in. They’re perception can be so different to that of another’s just because they’re restricted in their contact with you.

It allows for something special, you can showcase your many talents, your many sides and different traits. It allows you to shock people almost daily, as a comment, a look, something outside of their version of you sneaks in, and catches them off guard. You can, reinvent yourself – not confined to the role you used to fit in. Maybe you’re the quiet one at work, but you could be the life and soul of your group of friends, and be a naturist at the weekend.

I don’t think we should shy away from these changes. They aren’t on purpose, we aren’t changing ourselves, losing our true us in an attempt to find our place. We’re just adapting, as we should. Don’t feel bad or feel fickle for being more than one person, we’re all a lot of things to other people after all.

I’m not a fickle fellow, I’m a fellow with a fair few faces, and friends that’s fine for me!

Four Quarters are better than 100 Cents…

Last night I was texting a new-found friend, and we were discussing the value of friendship. It is a hard thing to measure, and it seems to differ depending on the individual. There are, it seems,  people in this world that collect friends, they are more concerned with the number of Facebook friends they have, or the number of people they can recognise in the street… People are more concerned with knowing people than getting to know people.

Said friend say the phrase above, “You and I both know the value of things, four quarters are always better than 100 cents” .

I think it’s a shame that people have come around to this way of thinking. When people are more concerned with public opinion and perception rather than reality and a persons essence.

In response to this I have one thing to say…  I don’t have many friends. I’m not that popular, I can’t list 100 people I know or have that many numbers in my phone. I don’t throw big elaborate birthday parties, or drop names to sound self-important. I don’t care if you think i’m uncool for not knowing as many people as you. I’m unconcerned with your perception of me for not caring.

To me, friends, real friends are hard to come by. They are few and far between, diamonds in the rough. A friend is not a person that fleetingly drop into your life and in a year has disappeared out of it again. A friend is not someone you just go out with, or someone you know from your course/work. A friend is not something gained over night or lost by the morning…

As a man put it more eloquently than me…

“True happiness consists not in the multitude of friends, but in their worth and choice.” – Samuel Johnston

I am privileged to have five friends in my life, that I truly love and adore. I would jump in front of a bus for them, drive to them whenever they needed, answer the phone to them at 3 am, understand that if I don’t speak to them for a week, it doesn’t mean they don’t care… We have all heard it say that “friends are the family we choose for ourselves” well I don’t know about you but I come from a very small close-knit family, and my friendship circle reflects that.

Most of my friends don’t know each other, they are part of different areas of my life, and there paths seemingly never cross, but despite this, without them, my life would be incomplete, superficial. They help to ground us, to comfort us, to guide us, to laugh with us, support us, thank us, berate us when need be.

For all of those friend whores, people collectors and acquaintance counters, I pity you. For you shall never know friendship as friendship was intended to be.

“A friend is trust, a friend is love

A friend is giving a supportive hug

A friend is kind, a friend is fair,

A friend is always there to care

A friend is honest, a friend is won

A friend is there till the day is done

A friend is rare, a friend is sure

A friends intention is always pure.

A friend is dear, a friend if true

A friend will never leave you”