Friendship

I have been thinking a lot lately about friendship and what it means to me.

I don’t have a large circle of friends. More pockets of friends whom I have met at different times in my life.

There are those I have known and still meet up with from as far back as nursery, infant and junior school, those who I grew up with in the same village, those I met at secondary school, and in sixth form. Then there are those I met at university, and whilst we struggle to meet up, we all still look out for each other and would be there at the drop of a hat if any of us needed anything. There are those I have met through work, friends of friends, evening classes. The opportunity to make and meet new friends is endless.

But what about friends we have never met?

Do you need to have met someone in person in order to claim them as one of your dearest friends? To share with them your greatest fears? For them to be amongst the first people to share  your successes with?

I have been friends with Laura since the late 90s. We met on a message board for one of our favourite bands (we were both slightly crazy for Another Level at the time!). We clicked instantly. Overtime we became closer and closer. Communications changed. We  moved from the message board to writing letters, emailing, texting, and more recently, to Whatsapp.

Laura has been there through every break up, every family drama, every huge life event (the good and the bad).

At the same time I moved to London, Laura moved to Australia. We don’t speak as often as we used to, but I still think of her a lot, and I know that if either of us needed someone to talk to, we would be there for one another.

There are so many times we could’ve met up before she moved to Australia, but for whatever reasons, we didn’t. I almost wonder whether we feared that meeting up in person would ruin our friendship somehow. Perhaps we feared that the bond we had on paper, wouldn’t be there in person. We will probably never know.

I met another girl on the message board too. Julie. Who lives in Taiwan. We have lost contact a number of times over the years, but we always find each other again. We shared a lot about our families and found so much happiness in talking about our different cultures. These days we mostly stay in touch on Facebook and Instagram, but it’s lovely to see what she gets up to, in a world that is very different to my own, yet it’s a world where we share the same values.

Do you have friends you have never met? Friends who know more about you than anyone else, without ever having met face to face? I would love to hear your experiences, feel free to leave comments on your friendships below.

 

Kicking Imposters Butt

Last night I managed to stop the little blighters from attack!

Who are the little blighters I hear you ask?

That would be the Imposters. The the little nagging voices in my mind that try to tell me I am a fraud.

However, for the first time, I fought back. There was no way I was going to let them win this time.

For the last 6 months or so I have been attending Board meetings, either to report back to board on a particular subject or in my brief stint as joint acting CEO (in between the old CEO leaving and the new one starting, in case you wondered why it was so brief…). This was a challenge of epic proportion in the beginning. We had a brand new board and I wasn’t particularly keen on public speaking, but it went ok and the Board seemed to appreciate my being there.

However, last night’s meeting was the first one with our new CEO in attendance. In addition, we were joined by a member of the wider team, who was there to provide a report linked to my section of the meeting.

I felt a little bit of pressure with the new CEO being in there, but for some reason, the thing that nearly released the imposters ready for an invasion, was the confidence that oozed out of my other colleague. He completely smashed his report, the Board loved him, and I walked away thinking he had done a much better job than me. On top of that  I started to convince myself that maybe the Board would now think our senior management team would benefit from him being part of the team rather than me.

I was proud of my colleague, but also a little bit envious. He had presented with so much ease. He was clear, concise and had wrapped the room around his little finger.

On the journey home, I tried to remember some of the skills my coach had taught me in one of our earlier sessions. One of the tactics we had spoken about was to think of positive things that had happened to me during that day in order to quash the imposters. It was far from easy. I genuinely thought I hadn’t done anything well.

But then I got a grip of myself, and within minutes I was compiling a mental list of all the things that had gone well.

Later on in the evening, I received a text from my CEO congratulating me on my update and saying it had been a “really authoritative update…“. Automatically my mind told me this was negative! What did he mean by authoritative?? Did this mean I came across as bossy? Rude even? I have to admit, for someone who has a good understanding of the English language, and is attempting to blog, I had to google the word to fully understand what it meant in this context. I cursed myself afterwards for thinking so negatively. Of course it wasn’t negative. It was a compliment. And a bloody good one at that!

I guess part of the battle is being aware of the imposters. I was annoyed at myself for having almost let those negative thoughts take over. However, I am also incredibly proud of myself for having recognised that they were creeping in, and before they could take over, I was able to find a quick solution to kicking their little squidgy butts.

They are now firmly locked back up in their cage, allowing me to crack on with my weekend, without a dark cloud, or an imposter in sight, or mind…

Happy Friday everyone!