So, here in Australia it is Summer, and therefore the long Summer end of year school holidays are upon us. As such, I take refuge in the air-conditioned cinemas with the kids as much as I can, if only for the 2 hours peace it offers! Haha!! This idea is not unique to me, and thankfully the movie makers are aware of my predicament and choose to capitalize on it by releasing as many kids movies as possible over these holidays. I’m not complaining!
I can’t say I usually enjoy children’s movies. I usually find there is too much singing if nothing else. Lol However, sometimes I am pleasantly surprised, and such was the case for Wreck It Ralph Breaks The Internet. For a start, the graphics were appealing somehow, perhaps that was just the candy in the racers hair though… Lol. It was a really interesting and creative, and even amusing visual representation of the internet in a way kids could understand based on our day to day existence, and it was all about…. You guessed it… Friendships!!!!
This is actually great for kids, because these are probably the most important relationships for our children as they are growing and developing and exploring who they are as individuals. It is really important, I feel, to teach them the value of friends from a young age, and equally how to grow and change with them instead of away from them.
The movie raised an interesting question for adults too, when we want to support our friends, but doing so might lead them away from us and what we need from them. What if they want to move away for work, or study or love, for example? In the movie, the characters were best friends, who hung out together every single day. A bit like a typical “work wife” I suppose, someone who makes your life more bearable by enduring the same old routines with you and somehow making them fun.
Many of us can relate to the feeling of losing aforementioned “work wife” when greater things are calling them. It’s confronting, both because they are implementing change, which is scary and has you contemplating if you should do the same thing…. And if you aren’t ready for that…. Will you be ok without them? Just like in the kids movie, you worry about being abandoned, forgotten and lonely. Their departure will definitely leave a hole in your life, alter your routine and impact your happiness.
It is such a conundrum. We all want our friends to be happy, but it really sucks when that happiness seems to come at our own expense. In the movie, Ralph, the character who feels, or fears, he is being left behind, tries to sabotage his friends chance at happiness to keep her right where he needs her…. With him! While that is unthinkable in terms of adult life, it does actually happen. It might be a small act, like telling your newly energized health conscious friend that your cupcakes are low fat when they aren’t, or a bigger one like giving a future employer a negative character reference if you are in a position to do so. I know that is low, but it does happen!
The people who do this are generally not terrible people, they are just desperate to hold on to the people involved. On the lesser extremes, others just struggle to put their own sadness aside and be happy for their friends. (Think hoping something bad will happen to stop her plans for example, although not saying so.) Sometimes all it takes is for our friend to reassure us nothing will change between us, and that they will miss us. Unfortunately we all know as adults that this is unrealistic and things will indeed change, which makes our feelings hard to ignore. So what are you supposed to do? Your feelings are valid, you will miss your friend, your life won’t be the same as it was, and you will probably go through a period of transition that will be hard. However, if your friend is excited, in love, or full of hope for a promising future, dig deep and be happy for her. You can tell her you will miss her, for sure, but recognise that her leaving is not personal. It is not a rejection or abandonment, she is doing what she needs to do to grow in her life. If you allow your insecurities and fears to cloud your judgement, you may indeed become needy and clingy, causing her to pull away even more. Sometimes these fears lead us to think only about what we need from them, not what they need from us…. or as the case may be, away from us. Being a good friend means being aware of what others need from us, and hopefully your friend will be aware that you need some reassurance too.
Essentially, what your feelings are, you see, are fears. Humans fear change at the best of times, and we hate it even more when other people force change upon us. I guess we hate feeling out of control too. When you can acknowledge that what you are feeling is fear, it is easier to conquer. Sadness feels all consuming and out of our control. Fear, on the other hand, is something we can face head on.
SPOILER ALERT: In the movie, Ralph’s friend does move on to find happiness, and instead of moping around, Ralph makes new routines and friendships with others. While he used to see his little buddy every day, he now only video chats with her once a week and sees her every few months. Because he has set himself up with new routines and people and found other ways to be happy, or at least distract himself from his sadness, he manages just fine. You will too. I promise. Sometimes it takes time.
So instead of moping and being sad, acknowledge that you are also going to need to make some changes. Are there projects you will have more time for or ways you could be more proactive and productive? Are there people you have overlooked because of the comfort of always having your friend around? Can you use your lunch break to finally catch up on that book you’ve been meaning to read instead of your usual gossip or shopping trip?
Keep your expectations realistic. Know that if you want to keep in touch with your friend, it will take real effort, positivity and they will be busier than you as they readjust to their new life. Do not take it personally! Have patience, reach out, and try not to make them feel guilty for wanting different things in life. Don’t struggle against it. Change will happen.
Go with the flow. Keep Smiling.
Your Best Friend ForNever