Before we get down to the nitty gritty stuff, I think it's important that I stay completely honest with you guys, and make a little confession. So here goes. The truth is, is that these pictures have absolutely nothing to do with what I'm about to talk about. I know, I know, it's shocking. I mean, just look at me, walking in the rain by my lonesome (apart from Ollie who was behind the camera at the time, but hey, who's taking note?) with nothing but nature by my side. Seriously, in the picture of me looking out into an open field you can practically hear me crying out 'friends, friends, where art thou friends' (although I'm not sure an empty field is the best place to find anything other than cows and/or the cast of A Bugs Life). Ugh, this all seems so depressingly poetic in the most perfect way imaginable. Buuut the reality is is that in actual fact we had to shoot an outfit, it started raining and I was moody because I was cold and damp. Shakespeare, eat your heart out.
Okay so we've managed to open this post on a fairly light hearted note, but the premise behind what I'm saying is very, very real. See, the thing is, is that I don't have many friends - and I never have done! In primary school and secondary school I had a small group of girls that I hung out with, in College a lot of us went our separate ways and in turn I spent the majority of my time eating lunch in the IT rooms whilst Tumblr-ing my life away. After a while I made a few pals but they soon moved away to go to University, and I stayed where I was. I made acquaintances in the workplace but never any solid friendships, and then when I decided to go to University myself I moved away and made a few friends in London. Then (I'm nearly done with this story, promise) I left London after a year, and I guess those friendships just dwindled, despite good intentions. I'm now going into my third year of University with a few good pals under my belt, but potentially less than I've ever had in my life. And you know what? I'm actually really fine with that.
I feel like it's pretty much imprinted into our brains from a young age that popular people equate to happy people, and that we all have to be outgoing social butterflies otherwise, well, maybe we're just a bit weird. I always recall my Mum telling me from a young age that you 'can count your true friends on one hand', and I remember thinking to myself that she just told me that to make me feel better about being a bit of a loner. I mean, everyone else at my school had swarms of friends - real life friends - whilst I was always a bit of an outsider that seemed to have more luck making Myspace friends that any thing else. These days, I guess the story hasn't really changed that much at all - only instead of spending hours writing Myspace bulletins asking for 'pc4pc' I spend my time (slightly) more wisely and write copious amounts of words for the whole internet to see.
In fact, it's kind of funny that the majority of my close friends have actually come from online relationships. Even Ollie and I met online, and in the past three years of us being together he's - without a doubt - become the most important person in my life. I think it's so important to remember that - when we're kids - we don't have the stresses and commitments that we do when we're adults. Eight year old Steph had all the time in the world to play with her friends, but twenty two year old Steph has (multiple) jobs, a relationship to maintain, a home to look after and two whole eyebrows to pluck (I was the monobrow queen in the 90s, which probably didn't help my popularity when I think about it).
So now, I guess it's time to adamantly admit that my Mum was right - you really can only count your true friends on one hand - but when they're true friends, why do you really need more? The relationships I have with these people are solid. If we don't see each other for a while, there are no hard feelings, we work through any differences as opposed to just brushing each other off, and we're there for each other without even having to physically be there in person. Eight year old Steph needed people to play at the park with her, whereas twenty two year old Steph needs a combination of that, as well as someone to rely on when times get tough, and for that you need quality over quantity. You need people that will stick around no matter what, that will help you in whatever you choose to do with your life and - to put it bluntly - be worth the time you're investing in them. Time is obviously such a huge thing as you get older - since we seem to have less and less of it as we go on - so you need to spend that time with people that help you, rather than hurt you. It doesn't happen over night, but once you've cracked that perfect handful of friends, you'll be set for life.
I suppose what I'm trying to say is that not having many friends doesn't mean you're a loser, and it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you. To me (and this has taken me far too long to figure out), it simply means that you've taken your time to perfect your own little group of friends. And that, ladies in gentlemen, is the ultimate #SquadGoal.
Can you guys relate to this at all?