Saturday, 19 April 2014

Question 18: What do friends mean to you?

Some voices from England:
"I love my friends and I like collecting new friends and keeping in touch with the ones I got. I have a few long-distance friends. I only lost touch with one friend; it's the only friend I’ve ever dropped, but I thought carefully about it."
"I have a huge amount of friends. A lot of them are different. I can’t express how much of a vital thing they are. Last night all the people who came back I’d never met before. I like meeting new people. I hardly have any friends left from school,they all went in different directions."
"I want to be as self-sufficient as possible. I try not to rely on anyone. I don’t dare to make friends that important. I rather rely on God, it feels at bit safer than relying on a human being. I'm saying that without bitterness, I don’t blame people."
"They’re like my family cause I was never close to my parents and they’re not around. Can’t imagine life without my friends. My sister’s only got her boyfriend, I can’t understand that at all."
"It takes a lot to become my friend. I get on with everybody, but I don’t trust them. I need to hang out with them for a year or two before I consider them friends. My friends is my world, If I didn’t have them, I would have nothing. I don't have many friends from childhood, I lost contact when I moved."
"I value I got friends who don’t reject me cause I have a mental illness, they give me a link to the world of normality. I got quite a few friends, different friends for different things ... Friends to sit in the pub and moan with, friends to watch DVDs with, friends to sometimes have a heart to heart with."
"I mostly see 'mother friends', other people with children on a day to day, week to week basis."
"They are there if I need someone to talk to, I can cry in front of my friends but as you get older you want to burden people les and less ... I like it when I have a lot of my friends around me at the same time ... but when you don’t have a partner you don’t have someone special thinking about you."
"I'm very fortunate to have made friends with some actors I admired and ended up meeting later in life and ended up staying with them."
Some voices from Sweden:
"They're there even if they're not there in person."
"Well, they mean a lot, but it's also such a thing that meant more when you were younger, then you'd say: 'I'd never choose a boyfriend over a friend' as it was then, but in the end you'll always do that anyway ..." 
"I'm in a strange situation right now. I either have my boyfriend's friends or some old friends I'm trying to find my way back to ... I don't have that many close friends because of that. It's a bit like I've forgotten what it's like to have close friends."
"I don't really socialise ... I mostly have very close relationships with a few people, not that many acquaintances."
"The most important friends are from when I was 8-9 year old, we've always followed each other in life. It's a safety to know they're there, I'd do anything for them and I think they'd do anything for me."
"I don't hang out with friends that much. I've moved a lot and lost touch with some, many have kids and it takes up all their time."
"I've got a best friend, can you put it like that now?"
"It changed since I had kids and moved ... It's a bit tricky sometimes. I've had to find new forms for socialising with old friends. I've had a bit of a crisis when it comes to social relationships. Some live very far away; I wish I could see them more, have them in my life on a daily basis."
"I'm part of different crowds, it goes in cycles ... X is my all round friend, we travel together, she's single a lot, a friend I can do most things with. I've also been single a lot, have no kids; I still live the life I did when I was 23, you can do a bit what you want ... Friends come and go."
"I've got 200 friends on Facebook. It's relative. If you want to be a bit harsh you can divide it into female and male friends. The guys I'm with because of a need to hang out, do nice things with because we have the same interest. Perhaps we don't talk that deeply, but we still look out for each other. Female friends don't have the same interests perhaps ... It's more of an emotional relationship. They seem more caring towards me."
"I meet new and different friends every week. Some I've known for ten years, some for a week."
My thoughts
Right now I mostly hang out with people I've only known for a few months. I didn't think you could make new friends after 30 - I'm glad I was wrong. Although it feels as if it went quicker and smoother to meet new people in Brighton compared to Gothenburg. That it's more dramatic to suggest a beer or coffee in Sweden and that it feels more free and easy to do so in England. But it could also be due to the fact that I felt more free and easy in England; I didn't have any old friends to lean on over there and was more in need of making new contacts ...
This study is by no means scientific, the answers are based on interviewing 15 people in England and 15 people in Sweden, aged 22-59. A majority are heterosexual women, but there are a few men and some LGBT people in the study as well. Look out for the next question: How much do you care about your appearance?