Photo Credit: Kirstie Melville
Working in a secondary school definitely has some reflective moments, working alongside young people who are discovering themselves as much as the relationships they have with their peers on a daily basis. Working in a school also finds you reflecting on your own experiences as a teenager, what you would have done differently and how life was just as challenging for us back then as it is now as adults. As teenagers we have a hell of a lot to deal with and the pressures on us are massive at that age, if it's not having the teachers talk to us about the importance of revising for GCSE's, it's about thinking about what's going to happen next and everything which comes with this new change that's coming. One thing in particular is the change in friendships and realising your going to outgrow people. 

Recently I've spoken more and more about 'outgrowing people' and how it feels to move on from a school to find new friendships etc. I've outgrown a lot of people in my 25 years on this planet. If I could have gone back then I probably wouldn't have been as naive about the 'friendships' I put everything into.

Surround yourself with people who get you. 

Friendships are a funny thing, when your younger you're thrown into the situation of meeting new people, forming new friendships with complete strangers on a regular basis through school, college then onto university and even through into the workplace. Growing up I moved from various friendship groups, I couldn't gel with one person for a considerable time because it became overwhelming and I couldn't hold down a friendship that became pretty intense. I remember having 'best friends' at school and college who I thought were my friend's for life but I quickly figured out that half of these people weren't even people I liked and didn't think they were worth my time. I quickly closed more and more doors to them before I left for college and university.

From every friendship I formed until the end of college I do still have great friendships with around two of those people, Jade and Bekki. I met Jade at primary school, we lived doors away from one another, we used to spend a lot of Friday nights having sleepovers and now she's got a little girl on the way. Our friendship recently cemented itself again last year after many years of losing contact and it's great how things come back round again. The same happened with Bekki, a friend who I drifted apart from when I went to college, I still have the card she made for me when I left school in year 9! After all of these years they are the only thing from my past that I know have my back. Plus it's even stranger how somebody you grew apart from somehow comes back around again. 

At college, I had a couple of really great friendships and whilst it isn't so clear in my understanding why a lot of my friendships just faded from this chapter of my life I still support a lot of those people individually. I feel like I just outgrew them when I went to university. I wanted to pursue my ambitions and those people weren't part of that ambition, plus university is different and it's important to have solid support through those next 3 years of your life as well as beyond.

University was the biggest eye opener for me, I met people who I had to live with and spend 5 days a week in the company of for 3 years of my life. They saw me at my worse, when I was too drunk to even get dressed for bed or when I went through a shitty break up during my third year. It wasn't easy but I feel like a lot of the people I met there are the people who allowed me to discover who I really was. I got to this point in my life where I was slowly becoming an adult, trying to manage the adult life and I didn't need friendships who only existed when neither of us were just in need of a pick me up or to feel better about our lives. Leaving university was tough I still have a strong bond with Katie, Lauren, Elouise and Harriet but it isn't the same not seeing them regularly. I did come away from university also outgrowing people too, I came away with friendships falling apart when they should have probably stayed. Whilst we may not be dancing in a club until 2am, having naps together in the afternoons and singing Musical Theatre songs until the early hours I know those 4 girls are batting for my team and will always be supportive of everything that I do. 

Now I have blogging, which has opened and created new friendships but also saw me outgrowing people too. It's the same with working at the various jobs I have had, but one thing is for sure I am content with those I have surrounded myself with over the 3 years I've had as a blogger and working in a completely different sector to what I had done for so long. As soon you grow up, have a few cries and hissy fits because the person you thought was your friend, isn't so anymore you realise that you want to surround yourself with the people that reflect you best, that's really important.

I've also had friends which have left then came back again, I remember the first time I spoke again to Charlie after a fair few months apart doing our own thing. We had come to a place in our friendship were it wasn't working anymore, we decided to have a break and our friendship came together like it never had a break. We're still friends now and it's been over 10 years now. 
But that's the thing about friendships too, they're unpredictable and they have a way of letting us know that something isn't right anymore when we least expect it to to. Having that conversation isn't easy but your better off knowing where you both stand than not at all. I remember losing a good friend after she was such a great support through my relationship break up in my third year at university. She'd bring me up a cup of tea whilst I cried my eyes out and would watch movies with me to make me feel more human. I remember exactly how I felt when I realised that friendship no longer existed, I was so hurt that I still don't know how it happened so quickly. But things happen for a reason.. 

I still look amongst the many photos I have with these people that were strangers, became something important to me and I knew so well to becoming strangers all over again. This full circle could have happened with months or years but I still carry the sentimental value of those captured memories we had shared together. I do always wonder what it'd be like to be their friends still today...

Whilst outgrowing people is a tough thing to accept, it's also uplifting and can be a good thing to realise too. Every person I have come into contact during my life have served a purpose, have been there when they needed to be there but not maybe for longer than that specific chapter and let me tell you that's ok. I've met people, who have had a toxic effect on me that I no longer need to be apart of. Our lives are so precious, so why spend it with those that aren't right for you? Those people who bring shitty friendships along with them. I count my true friends on one hand, maybe two and I'm completely fine with that now, maybe 10 or so years ago that would have meant nobody liked me but growing up has shifted that mindset completely. 

I promised the young people that I support that it isn't so bad being surrounded by so few but so beneficial people in your life when you grow up. Don't feel like whoever you meet has to be your friend either, that will only cause you grief down the line when you realise that person could possibly be someone you don't even like or enjoy the company of.

Don't be afraid to outgrow people, discover your own squad and be content with it no matter how small or big it is.

thanks for reading,