In part three of her series, Louisa tackles the difficulty of finding friendship
BY LOUISA BENNETT, IMAGE VIA BROADLY, GENDER SPECTRUM COLLECTION
When you walk your own path, the prospect of socialising with other actual human beings can feel a bit overwhelming. Sometimes, it might simply be a case of taking a deep breath and getting out of the front door. On other occasions, it might fill you with so much anxiety that you end up cancelling with the lamest excuse that you have the energy to muster. If you do make it out, you might find that you spend the evening feeling like a lone seagull bobbing along on a tide of cohesion with a fixed smile on your face.
When you walk the quirky path – it can take a little time before you find your group but they are definitely out there, and are probably equally waiting to be found. And once you find them, this gang/tribe/crew/whatever other name you want to give it, are going to be your ‘lifers’. The ones that are there for you through thick and thin; the ones that have your back and are there for you no matter how long it’s been since you last spoke. Your gang can be singular – just one magical other, or plural – a whole team of quirky bitches. It matters not. What matters is that socialising with them will be like a breath of fresh air.
Before we all go skipping off into the sunset to find our tribe, I just need to acknowledge that the journey to finding your gang is not always smooth. I once had a colleague who thoughtfully asked me about a film that I’d watched the previous evening. I’m not sure quite what I’d had for breakfast that morning, but rather than give the standard “it was great thanks” reply, I launched into a brief synopsis of the plot; summarised the ideas and thoughts I’d had since watching the film and then proceeded to pose larger questions about the meaning of human existence. The said thoughtful colleague paled, looked like she wanted to vomit on my desk, said “ooh no, this is too much” and promptly left. Fair enough really!
That level of over-talking is always going to be a gamble but it’s definitely worth the risk to meet likeminded others. That one time where someone understands and responds with ease to what you are saying, and where that sense of being the odd one out lessens or even vanishes altogether. Not only that, you are more likely to build a relationship with a deeper connection where your conversation goes beyond the surface level chit chat. The truth is that when you are immersed in being your beautiful quirky self and show this side of you to the world, rather than trying to fit the mould, you give people a chance to see and accept the authentic you. After all, how can you give someone the chance to accept you, if you don’t show them who you really are?
Authenticity both requires and inspires vulnerability. If you offer people that level of insight into who you really are, it is much more likely that you will get it back. Embracing your quirkiness and being your true self might mean some people go running in the opposite direction. It might also mean that your social circle is slightly smaller than Jill from next doors is, but without question your relationships will have more meaning, be longer lasting and be authentic deep connections.
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