Photography: Derek Bremner
Words: Zoe London
It’s not about the volume of friends you have, it’s about the ones who really care about you.
I think we grow up to believe that at school the ones that are the most ‘popular’ are the ones with the biggest volume of friends. I’ve grown to realise that simply isn’t true, and is probably quite damaging to how we view our friendships growing up. I had friends at primary school, secondary school and college, but toward uni I drifted apart from my old school friends, and didn’t make new ones at uni either. I was constantly sad, and am still often a bit sad about it that I don’t really have any old school friends – but we simply aren’t the same people any more. There’s no shame in that. What I do have right now is a support network of friends both close and further across the UK (and world!), who I know are ones that really care about my well being. Whether you have two, or three, or even one very close friend however, it just doesn’t matter any more about the volume, but more about knowing who’s out to ensure you’re happy.
One of the things I like about this photoset, is it highlights that it can be anyone.
Pictured with me here are two amazing bloggers, Megan and Charlotte. As you can see from the photos we all have totally different styles and even though we make a bit of a motley crew, it works. Why? Because I think you can see that we all genuinely care for and want the best for each other. It’s realistic. It’s not Taylor Swift’s idea of perfect girl gang, and that’s real. That’s what we really are. I think that actually is one of the most key things – your best friends might not be the exact same as you. My best friend in the world Jen, is so similar to me yet so different. We both like different music (although we share a very mutual love of Craig David), we have totally different hair interests and our fashion is worlds apart. But she’s perfect for me. Why? Because over the nearly eight years i’ve known her, she’s always wanted the best for me. Although my other bestie Lily is more or less identical to me, and she brightens up my days by making me howl laughing, and we often pick the same clothes because we have the same taste. So fun. It works. You can tell this kind of love in anyone within only a short time of knowing them. They cheer for your team, they give you blunt, honest advice – why? Because they know you better than you know yourself. They tell you what you need to hear. They do this because they care about your happiness.
While the girl gang notion is lovely, it isn’t always realistic.
We are shown t shirts of ‘girl gang’ and other such phrases all the time these days actually so much it’s starting to lose meaning. I worry that people get so down or fixated on needing a ‘girl gang’ when in reality you only need one or two close friends who really look out for you – rather than a huge gang for aesthetic sake. I think this old childhood ‘popularity’ race mixed with the new found obsession most of us have of a fixation of keeping up with social media can lead to this pressure. Social media can be such a great tool in making new friends – without it I wouldn’t have met Megan and Char, but don’t let it get to you. Your real friends, your bread and butter, your ride or die neednt come in volumes. It comes in honesty and heart, and it’s not easy to miss. You might get mad at them for serving you up some truth pie, but you’ll soon realise how right they are. Kind hearted friends are the ones who always treat you with respect. They don’t cancel on you every time, they remember important dates and message you support. They share your latest work and revel in your work celebrations. These people have kindness deep rooted in them and they really care about your feelings.
Surround yourself with the ones who send you morning gifs just to brighten your day. Surround yourself with the friend who messages you out of the blue even though she lives in Australia now and the time difference is all wrong – but she just remembered it was a special day for you. Surround yourself with the ones who turn up with cards, who make thoughtful dinner plans to catch up on everything you’ve been up to. Surround yourself with those with positive energy. Those who other people never have a bad word to say about. Those who light up your face with a smile when you see them just because you can’t help it when you’re around them.
Remove pressure to have a huge gang of friends – it’s not about the number, it’s about who really cares about you. Quality, not quantity.
To my friends, both those pictured and not. Let it be known I appreciate you. I appreciate everything you do. I might be rubbish at replying to texts (i’m better at whatsapp for some reason?) and it’s not gone unnoticed that you cared about me. I know you want what’s best for me and I want what’s best for you too. Oh and if I haven’t text or seen you in a while, I haven’t forgotten about you. I always want the best for you. You’re in my life because you radiate happiness, and i’m there for you at every time you need me.