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Mental Health

It’s Okay Not To Have Friends

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This isn’t so much a human rights based article as much as it is a life lesson which took me a long time to learn. Sometimes, you have to be alone.

Maybe it’s physically, maybe it’s metaphorical, both of which I have experienced my fair share. At the time, I asked myself what I was doing wrong to be so isolated by my peers or by my family, but now I’m realising that as a woman in this society with a strong voice and big expectations of the world my children will eventually live in, this has to be expected and this has all made me stronger.

As a teenager, it’s easy to get lost in translation of what you’re suppose to be doing. How many times have I asked myself “where are all my friends?” or “why aren’t I going out every weekend?” which ends with the routine “what’s wrong with me?” Well I’m here to inform you that this is normal, and I’m sure everyone, even Buffy from the popular group, has felt this way. How can you not, after growing up surrounded by different versions of teenage life -Lizzie McGuire, That’s so Raven, Hannah Montana. All these shows have different plotlines, different characters, different cliff-hanger problems, but all with the same similarities; they’re all teenagers with a lot of friends. I wish I could say that this changes once you’re in your twenties but I have a strong hunch it only gets harder, and you need to be able to fend for yourself.

We often talk about the emotional abuse we suffer from a parent, or most usually a partner, but what we rarely talk about is the emotional rollercoaster you may endure from someone we call a friend. But I’ve just answered my own question here, we don’t consider our friends as likely suspects to harm us because they are exactly that, our friends. And friends, as we’ve watched through multi-media since the start of our lives, aren’t meant to hurt us. But that isn’t true, and I think it’s time we shine light on a subject that has been dormant for a long time.

Friends can hurt you, friends can insult you, friends can make you feel worthless, friends can make you insecure, friends can make you question everything you know about yourself and make you feel like if you don’t have them then you will have no-one; all at the same time. This applies to everyone of all ages, male or female. Speaking from first hand experience, there have been times where I have stayed up at night, crying tears into my pillow because I felt like my best friend was abandoning me. I wondered if anybody else felt the way I did or I was just being over the top. I tried to speak to various people about how I felt but nobody seemed to take me seriously –“don’t worry, you’ll be friends again soon.” It seemed this was everybody’s answer, don’t worry, it’ll be fine, you’ll be friends again. But maybe that isn’t what we should be encouraging? We wouldn’t encourage a girlfriend to go back into a relationship where she felt worthless, neither would we encourage a man to do the same either! So why are we so hell-bent on ignoring simple facts that someone can be just as emotionally abused in a friendship, when the evidence is right before our eyes? It does not matter what relation you are to a person, it will never be okay to make them feel small, it’s the whole duty of a friend to make your friend strong, independent, wise, comfort them, make them better. May we never forget that.

I want to inform everyone reading this that you are not alone on how you feel, but sometimes you need to realise that not everyone is going to be there for you, not even your best friends. In a world this big and complex, all you have is yourself at the end of the day. Right now I’m trying to balance being a woman who needs her family and her foundation, but is also independent, focused and no “friend” is going to stop me.

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Laura Maxwell
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Hi, my name is Laura Maxwell. I was born and raised in the South West of England and I am currently a full time student, aspiring to be a human rights lawyer in the future. I enjoy watching classic horror movies, experimenting with makeup and I go to the gym most days of the week. I have always been passionate about human rights activism and I plan to pursue a long career in the law field in the next couple years. - twitter/instagram: @laurajmaxwell

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