“A friend tags you.
A good friend tags you in memes.
A best friend tags you in memes daily.”
It seems these days, if you aren’t tagged on Facebook, send streaks on Snapchat or receive DMs in Instagram, you’re not friends. If your friend tags someone else it’s classified as a modern day betrayal; worthy enough to make it on the list of Top Ten Anime Betrayals of 2018. But the entire ‘tag’ culture is subjective, it’s based on someone owing you food, an inside joke or memory, or simply a random list of names.Sometimes tags are meaningful, “Hey, I saw this post and it reminded me of you”. And sometimes, they’re just a notification, “Tag someone so they have to open their phone for no reason.”
A basic human need is the one to be loved and accepted by our peers. We keep up to date with the latest trends to be “cool” or we don’t to be “unconventional” but social acceptance is something we can’t live without. We bind with those similar to us, creating a unit, a clique and ultimately a family. We love to have someone we can lament about our problems to, someone we can talk to about anything, someone who knows all of us and still decides to be our friend.
But the scariest thing about this connection is when you realise you don’t have it. It’s waking up one morning and realising, the only reason you’re friends with some people is because you see them 5 days a week. You realise that an entire friendship is based on shallow pleasantries and that can be terrifying. Then it hits you. You’re almost ready to graduate, you’re preparing for university, you’re sitting your last set of exams, you’re at sign out day. And everyone’s a stranger.
Most of the time, you don’t even realise something’s changed, it’s a gradual shift of becoming a second choice, being kept out of the loop or ignored in the group chat. Suddenly it seems like everyone else has their social life sorted out. Everyone except you. Maybe it’s your fault, maybe it’s theirs. No! It has to be their fault; you’re the one who was ghosted, the one who wasn’t invited, the one who was cast out, abandoned, deserted. But maybe it’s no one’s or everyone’s fault.
Maybe you’re the one doing the ghosting, scared of hurting feelings, scared of breaking out of your mould. After all, they’re a good person; everyone else loves them but why don’t you?
The most important step when dealing with any relationship is communication. If you feel left out, TALK to your friends about it. Maybe they don’t agree, maybe they do but ultimately the choice lies with you, the hero of your own real-life RPG. If you feel like a friendship causes you more stress and sorrow than happiness and joy then the hardest but the best thing you can do is to let go of that friendship. Let go of the toxic environment and focus on yourself because you are your own best friend.
When you cut off people who aren’t good for YOU, a loud voice in your head says “but remember that time when…” or “but they’re such a good person…” However, realise that you’re not escaping the people, you’re escaping the environment. Someone can be a good person but a bad friend to you just like someone can be a genius but a terrible teacher. The way a person is and the way they act towards you are not related. You are never indebted to someone else because they chose to be your friend. They made the choice. Not you.
And the finicky thing with friendships is that they change; friendships are moulded by the people who create them. Maybe you don’t share the same interests as your kindergarten best friend anymore or maybe you’ve completely changed from who you were in year 9 but that’s alright though. Everyone wants to change the world, but it is okay if that world is one person, and it is okay if that person is you. So look after yourself! Find your passions! Find people who share those passions! And continue changing the world, one relationship at a time.
TLDR: if you cry more than you laugh in a friendship, you’re friends with an onion. Everyone likes onion rings.
Written by Sophie Sun
Edited by Tara Jackson