Like a lot of girls growing up in the UK in the noughties, I was raised with the Spice Girls and watching the friendships of popular US sitcoms like Sex In The City, Will & Grace and Friends.
These sitcoms were all based around friendships that knew each better than most of us know our families, who saw each other more regularly than I see my colleagues and who were barely seen apart. A friendship that worked so well together, that nothing would come between them. Naturally, I thought my adult friendship circle would be something akin. Well HBO, Warner Bros, I feel like I was sold a lie. Perhaps it’s a different era, but getting one or two friends out to lunch one the same day more than once a week is one thing, but spontaneously getting four individuals to have a coffee??? Without a Doodle? You’re kidding me. Forget it.
Growing up, I was hooked on the shows. They made you feel you were part of the friendship group and I was convinced I would one day find my own Charlotte and Miranda and we would have an unbreakable friendship and go to art gallery launch parties (pah!) and eat lunch out at restaurants all over town (how rich were these women??). I would find the Chandler to my Joey, and we would eat pizza every night, chirpse on the hotties and shrug off any adult responsibilities. Politics were irrelevant in these TV shows, climate change and sickness ostensibly didn’t exist and most of the time everything was pretty great. These were friends that would *be there for you*, that never did anything too serious to get in the way of the friendship. Maybe it is the era of social media, maybe it’s being in a long-term relationship but this kind of friendship is tough to find. I went to an all-girls secondary school, and whilst I would like to say we were a supportive community, that shared body positivity think pieces between classes, we didn’t . It was vicious. I was sure I was going to meet this magical cluster at university, this was the place you found the ONE, and your friends for life right? Well, not for me. It was a continuous feeling of not quite fitting into groups, or having to try so hard to get other friendship groups to keep a space for you that it got humiliating.
A few years on from those days, and I can look around a but more judiciously. I have some really brilliant friends, but they are from all different walks of life. There is no way we will be forming a group, and spending every single day together. In fact, I am almost certain that some of my good friends wouldn’t get on with each other if all placed in a room together, probably one of the reasons I don’t like hosting any kind of party or social event. Friendships are tough, there is always a different level of expectancy and apart from anything else my friends now seem to be located in different places.
I don’t have a gang, and you know what? I’m okay with that. I am still meeting people who I hope will be in my life forever, and I love that I get to have one-on-one time with my current circle of friends.
These sitcoms after all are made up, played by group of actors some of which can’t even get along in real life. Plus what kind of coffee shop realistically always has space for 6+ people these days anyway? It’s a logistical nightmare.