Saying no

friends walking on the beack

I’ve only recently watched the Friends Reunion. It’s a show I literally have seen so many times over they years but I never tire of.

They are just a really fun bunch of characters and their friendship during their 20s was just so very solid. They were friends that were family and that’s what most of my friendships are. Watching the Friends Reunion show made me recall all the friendships in my teens and 20s, all the adventures and all the fun times. It also allowed me to look at where I am now, in my 30s and how some of those friendships may have changed.

Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman said, "Everybody was growing up. This is part of why the show had to end. This was no longer that time in your life when your friends are your family. You're starting your own family." Being an accidental immigrant to Australia, I don’t have family here and still really have friends who are my family away from home. Moving on from my 20s, I find that I feel some pressure over ‘keeping up’ with all friendship groups. Do you have to be present at all catch-ups? Is it okay to sometimes say, ‘No I can’t make it today’? And what does that mean if you can’t make it today? Do some friendships have endings, and is that okay?

Francis Mallmann on Netflix’ Chef’s Table series (he has three Michelin stars by the way) said,

“I can’t do it anymore as theatre. I make choices, and that’s a beautiful thing about growing up, learning to say no. In a nice way, but you say no. I have this friend of mine. He was on the island, in fact, 30 years ago when we just started. And we, you know, we parted. We just went different ways in our lives. Once he came back to me, he said, ‘Francis, you don’t like me anymore’. And I said ‘No, it’s not that I don’t like you. We’ve chosen different styles of life. I still have these beautiful souvenirs of all the things we did together and how close we were and so on. And I don’t want to fight with you, but you know, there’s nothing in common between your life and mine nowadays.’ I would have never said that to him, but he asked me. So what could I say? I said the truth. But you know, growing up has a bit to do with that, to be able to tell the truth, to show who you are, even if it hurts.”

Tagged in What messes with your head, friends, Student life