“It could all be so simple, but you’d rather make it hard,” the inimitable Lauryn Hill sings on the Ex-Factor, and nowhere do I sing-scold myself more using this line than when it comes to my adult friendships.
Making new mates as a child was easy. We were thrown together in classrooms whose roster stayed pretty consistent through primary school until the upheaval of secondary school. The culture shock between Year 6 and Year 7 was hard, but for the most part it was bearable. I thought I’d survived the trickiest level of socialising when I left secondary school. I went to an all-girls grammar school in a very leafy suburb. There were the cat fights and melodrama, psychological bullying and manipulation, but also the new dynamic of class differences and racial bias from some of the teachers. So when I escaped that with the majority of my self esteem in tact, I thought I’d learnt everything I needed to know about interpersonal relationships and was set for life. Then I turned into an adult and realised how wrong I was.