Friendship is a 2 way street

It’s been a week since I’ve come home from my blissful and absolutely amazing holiday in South East Asia and I’m starting to feel the onset of Post Holiday Depression (Trust me, it’s a real thing!) While I have missed all my friends here in Melb, I long to go back to being  responsibility free besides the beautiful hotel pool. The upside of being back though is I get to catch up with all my wonderful friends! As soon as I landed, I received a few text messages from those I love most, welcoming me back and asking when was the most opportune time for us to catch up. So that’s what I’ve been basically doing in my short time back home. I have about 22 days until my holidays officially end and I become a JAFFY in uni, so I’m going to savour it as much as I can and spend my days lazing and socialising.

I’ve managed to meet up with most of my close friends and we’ve talked about our individual holidays so far, uni courses and what not, but I’m also seeing another slightly disturbing pattern. With the people I’ve met up with, the conversation somehow ends up steering towards the topic of relationships and the lack of effort that is put towards maintaining one. I’m not just talking about a romantic relationship, I’m also talking about  friendships in general. In recent times, my friends have noticed that with their other friendships, they’re the ones doing everything to keep it going. They’re the ones who initiate the meetups, the ones who call/text to ask ‘how are you?’, the ones who try to ensure the friendship is still there. But they get nothing back. Oh sure, they get the classic response ‘Good thanks, what about you?” or the ‘Defs catch up soon xx’ (even though you know it’s not going to happen), but they’re not getting the same effort back that they’ve put in.

Just as our coffee date was nearly over, she asked ‘Is it wrong to expect them to put effort in?”

Absolutely not. I know exactly how she feels and I know firsthand it gets tiring after a while to always be the ‘glue’ of the group or the one who initiates everything. In fact, when I look at some of the friends I’ve made over the years, I realised that for most of them, the only reason we’re still ‘friends’ is because I’ve made damm sure that we never lost contact.

I shouldn’t be so judgmental though, as I know it’s in some people’s personalities to not initiate anything even though they genuinely still want to continue the friendship. And I do know that certain circumstances do prevent really good friends from talking or seeing each other as often because there are other priorities. But when the situation is right for both parties and one still isn’t making any effort, that’s when I get annoyed.

It takes two people to make a longterm, MEANINGFUL, friendship work- not just one.

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A friend in need is a friend indeed

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting up with one of my closest friends when I travelled to Singapore. There is something incredibly exciting about meeting friends in foreign countries as it holds this sense of adventure and you get to explore places  beyond your usual hangouts!  Anyway, she is currently doing a fancy paid internship in Singapore while I am touring South East Asia, so we thought it’d be a perfect opportunity to catch up. It had been MONTHS since I’d last seen Bec and I was quite excited to reunite and talk about all the exciting things that had happened to us since we last caught up.

Talking to her conjured all sorts of memories, but the one thing I contemplated after our reunion, was how I can always count on her to pull through for me. I’ve lost count the number of times that Bec has had to pick up the phone and hear me bawling my eyes out on the other end. She is always there to soothe the aches and provide the comfort,  but she is also there to tell me the realistic yet often harsh truth that I need to hear. Where some people only tend to bring you down, Bec always pushed me to strive for my best in all aspects of life. She’s the type of friend who remembers your important dates, the one who will surprise you with unexpected birthday gifts, and most importantly,  puts the effort into continuing the friendship. Without her constantly asking me to meet up or call and  ask how I am during the first few months of our friendship,  I’m ashamed to say I probably would have let the connection die as I wasn’t concerned about developing relationships at that age…
  2014 was a tough year as I was doing my final exams and she was pushing through her first year of Uni, so catching up often was very challenging.  Despite this,  we were always able to pick up where we last left off and just chat the night away. There is nothing I can’t confide in her.

This is only a very superficial description of what she has done for me, as the full list would amount to a very, VERY lengthy blog post. 

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There is an old saying that ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed’ which basically means is that in times of adversity, your true friends will be the ones who stick with you throughout. If you’re in ‘need’ of help, the friends worth keeping will offer you comfort/advice/assistance no matter what. And I am incredibly lucky, no, EXTREMELY fortunate that I’ve found that person.

They say stress changes a person, but it can also weed out your true friends by providing a test of who will help you through the stressful times. Almost everybody will find that certain people in their life will fail that test, and thus drift away from them. It’s a tough, but necessary experience in order to continue growing. That said, everybody will also find that they DO have a true friend lurking in the shadows, always ready to provide a helping hand- and that is the greatest gift of all.

I’ve drifted apart from many friends, but I’ve also gained friendships and made significant connections with a number of incredible people. The beauty of realizing that there are still good, genuine people who honestly care about me and who value me for who I am outweighs and even removes the pain that usually comes after a loss.

As H.H Humphrey once said, “The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I’m lucky to have found it.”

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As always,feel free to leave your thoughts below 🙂
Ash xx

“Comparison is the thief of joy”

I’ll admit, I was very reluctant to begin posting on this blog. It seems that amongst my peer group, people have turned towards making a blog as the new thing to past the time- especially fashion blogs. I think it’s yet another one of those phases that our generation goes through. First up was Facebook where everybody tried to get the most friends and post status updates as often as possible. Second was Tumblr, where people reblogged countless images and competed for the most followers. In the last 2 years, it’s been Instagram where people post multiple selfies, food, more selfies, and once again focus their attention on raking in the most likes. Follow for Follow anyone?

Social media does have its perks. I can see what my friends overseas are up to and it’s an easy way to let everyone know when you’re doing something exciting or eating really good food. (#foodporn) But it does have major drawbacks. I was flicking through a magazine when I read an article linking social media to depression and low morale in an adolescent’s life. It said that we are conditioned to post only the best ( and usually unrealistic) version of ourselves in order to keep up with everybody else’s seemingly perfect life. As you can imagine, pretending to be perfect is exhausting and can lend itself to serious self-esteem issues when a person’s self-image does not match their ideal self. What makes it worse is that nobody posts absolutely everything they go through. On a typical teenager’s newsfeed you’ll see smiling faces (caked of course), couples photos and designer brands bought by so and so’s partner (or parents most likely) . On my feed, that is a guarantee.  But what you don’t see are the crying faces when one is upset or the bloated tummies that society deems is not bikini body ready. What ends up happening is you get people comparing their dark, down days to other people’s highlight reel and thinking they’re not good enough, or they’ll never be perfect.

I’m not saying don’t use social media. I enjoy using Facebook as a platform to share my adventures with my friends and update my relatives overseas about life in Melbourne.  Just don’t hinge your self-worth  on it. Remember that not everything is as it seems, and everybody goes through dark days. Most importantly, don’t use it as the only method of connecting with your friends and letting them know they’re valued.  Sure, I enjoy the comments left by people but that will never beat the love and happiness I’ll feel when I receive an actual text or phone call letting me know you’re thinking of me. Better yet, I’d love to see you in person!

I stumbled onto this post (ironically on Instagram) which sums it all up perfectly.

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Foster and strengthen your relationships in real life, not on the comments you get on your photos.

As I said at the start, I was nervous about posting and letting people know I have a blog as I was scared they would think I’m just copying everybody else. But like I said in my very first post, a lot has happened to me that I want to reflect on and share. I am most perfectly capable and have the skills to write, so why not? I enjoy writing and I’m doing it for myself and that’s the best reason to start anything. So for anybody who is reluctant to do something they’ve never done before, my advice is to make sure you’re doing it for yourself and not just to fit in with other people. Forget the cynics and ignore those with doubts,  because those people who sit and judge based on social media and who have nothing better to do than measure your worth from your likes or your follows don’t deserve a second of your time or thoughts.

Good luck my lovelies!

Ash xx