There’s something so unique about living in a city like this one. London is huge, it’s a place where people from all over the world interconnect and flourish. I’ve been in London for almost 3 years and whilst being here, I’ve made many friends and have had to say goodbye to almost all of them.
I wanted to write a blog about this. Making friends in a city and saying goodbye. I do often ask myself why I get so upset – saying goodbye to friends, tears streaming down my face, internally asking myself why are you like this?!. Asking why my body involuntarily gets so worked up about saying goodbye to people, when I knew I would have to say goodbye to them eventually. It’s a city of adventurous and aspiring people after all.
I sat and I really thought about.
When you move out of home, or across the world like me, the friends you make become your family. Your friends become the support network that is there when you’re crying out of stress, or crying because you can’t stop laughing. They’re there when you’ve got exciting news you want to share, they’re there dancing alongside you at gigs, they’re there when you just want someone to join you for a coffee. So naturally, losing these people, this support network, is never going to be easy.
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” – C.S. Lewis
A city life promotes a different type of friendship, well certainly different to the friendships I ever had in New Zealand. The friends I make tend to live a short distance away, and this is what I love most. The making of spontaneous plans, popping around to see a friend, meeting for lunch or coffee, even just having a drink at the pub after work together. London is all about the sociable life. So when this lifestyle changes, such as a friend leaving, it’s hard to feel okay about it – because one small difference can affect your daily life so much. We don’t tend to deal with unwanted change too well, and we do become sad. We all do. I’ve had my closest friends fly home, and I have had my closest of English friends move out of London – it’s the same, and in my head it’s the drama of the century. I enjoy having my closest friends …well, close.
I moved to London on my own.
I was an 18 year old from New Zealand, who arrived and knew absolutely nobody. To be quite honest with you, the first few nights in London, I was terrified. Terrified that nobody would like me, and terrified that I would make no friends. And then I moved into my first flat. I arrived as the outsider, and by the end of the first week, I was out celebrating my 19th birthday surrounded by people. Now, all of those people I met in my first months, I would be lucky to see anyone of them once a year. It was a gradual thing – I moved flat, made new friends, my old friends moved, I moved flat again, made new friends, so on, so on. It became an expectation to say goodbye, or at least ‘see you later’.
The knowledge of my own need for progression, allowed me to accept saying goodbye to others. Half the time, as I’m standing there with tears streaming down my cheeks as I say goodbye, I am happy; I am excited for my friends to move on to greater adventures. I’ve been that person my whole life, and I know that feeling of having to move on. We all live our lives with the aspiration of progress, and we all have to be selfish sometimes.
I was at the top of St. Paul’s with a friend one day. We were looking down at the thousands of people below us, and then, he said:
“Isn’t it amazing how amongst all those people, with different lives and different stories, we meet people with similar interests and form friendships.”
Yes, it is amazing. Making friends in a city of 8 million people may seem like a given, but it’s not as easy as that. Everything happens for a reason, and people come into our lives as we need them. Even though saying goodbye is hard, the most important thing to remember is that life will always endure a bit of mileage.