Old Friends

Well, not old as in they themselves are old. More, long-standing….

While I was at my mum and dad’s during our summer holiday I managed to meet up with three very long-standing friends who I’ve known for very many years. Two who I met while we were in reception (kindergarden) and one who I’ve known even longer, since playgroup when we were two!

I see one of my reception friends and my playgroup buddy every year or two, we’ve always stayed in touch but my other reception friend I hadn’t seen since she left school at 16 and even then we weren’t close at that point. However, somehow, we all picked up as though the end of primary school (in 1992) was just a few weeks ago. Whatever differences in life paths, tastes, choices, other friendships that we’d experienced were as though they’d never happened. I was the only one of the four who went off to university, but still at least two of the three know me as well as the friends I’ve had since. They probably know a more real “me” than people I met at university and since then – they knew the child who didn’t hide the parts of her she thought people wouldn’t like, who didn’t know how to pretend to be other than she was, who spoke thoughtlessly from the heart. Sitting and chatting with someone who knows the “real” you, underneath the layers of learned rules about what to not say or do, is hugely comforting and reassuring. It was utterly lovely in some ways.

But then, my friend I’d lost touch with said something about confidence or competency, and I realised she saw me, at least partly, through the same lens of self-representation that my colleagues and today’s friends (mostly) use. She had this perception that I’m successful and, I don’t know, better than I am. Imposter syndrome to the rescue, or something.

This is a bit of a rambling post, because I’m still not sure what to make of the whole thing.

Did I unconsciously talk myself up, boast, brag or try to prove that I’m some successful genius and thus accidentally make my old friend feel inadequate? Was she there, sitting thinking the exact same thing? Was my perception coloured by our friendship dynamic when we were ten – she was charismatic and mature, I always felt overshadowed by her, almost bullied but not quite, just “less than”. Did I attempt to present myself so that I broke that ancient feeling of inadequacy? I hope I didn’t, I hope she didn’t feel “less than” me.

Or am I building mountains out of mole hills?

Maybe turning 40 has affected me more than I thought.

Or maybe I’m just suffering from a spell of excessive introspection.

Love from Smell xxx

21 thoughts on “Old Friends”

  1. I’ve been back home in Germany for a whole year now after my studying and teaching time in the U.S., and I have yet to meet my old friends from way back when, due to the pandemic. I miss them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s weird how things change over time with old friends! But I hear you when you say they know you better than people you met later in life x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think long-standing friends don’t see us as more successful than we are (I totally understand imposter syndrome raises its head here), I think they just value all the parts of us that we maybe don’t appreciate about ourselves. I think they’re able to see us grow through the years and they see us in a way we can’t as we experience all the everyday highs and lows. But, as you point out, it can be more complex than that — this has got me thinking about some of my old friendships! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. I literally overthink everything! I’m surprised I even started my blog. There’s nothing better than having those really close friends that you can totally be yourself with who knows you inside and out 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s always interesting to connect with old friends from long ago. I’m still in touch with my best childhood friend from England. When I went to England for her wedding I worried we wouldn’t have anything in common and I was making a big mistake. I needn’t have worried. It was like we were never apart. It’s a special friendship. We see each other every 5-10 years and yet she’s still one of my dearest friends.

    I’m sure your friend is just seeing you from a different perpsective because it has been so long. Be proud of who you are. You’ve earned the right!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sometimes it’s our own insecurities that cause us to do that and our need for validation. It’s not on purpose, we need to know we have achieved our goals. I know I’ve done this in the past. You are proud of what you have achieved and who you are. There is nothing wrong with that. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. People change, but we tend to regress when around older friends, like we do when we’re around our parents, older friends, especially those you haven’t seen for a while still think of you as the person you were, there is nothing wrong with you are, you are just different and they are acknowledging that x

    Liked by 2 people

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