This morning for some reason my Instagram feed was full of hashtags to do with Friendship Day #friendshipday - well this got me thinking why do we need so many blooming "days" and also about what friendship looked like to me as a teenager ........ and what it looks like now as a 37-year-old Mum of two?

Those that know me think of me as being quite outgoing and sociable but in reality, it's something I have to work at. My job as a family, wedding & event photographer is one where I am in front of what's going on, but you would be wrong in thinking that I'm at the centre of it. You see I'm not, I document what I see & feel, not create it.

I'm not the female version of Hugh Jackman in The Greatest Showman ....... if I was .... damn I'd be looking in the mirror alllllllll day!

I've always sort of felt like the outsider, almost that person that skirts around on the outer fringes of friendships. When you are younger and hormones are racing around faster than the boy racers on the town car parks, well that can be hard. Now that I'm older (note I didn't say wiser) I'm ok with admitting that I actually kind of like my own company and being an outsider is fine with me. 

I was never the cool kid! I had lots of people who I spoke to, I had friends and went to peoples houses, I was never excluded but I never really felt like I belonged or had someone who was super close. This carried on through my teens until I started my A levels. Sarah was my best friend during this time, we did a lot of growing up together and over the space of two years we had a lot of fun but when the time came and we finished A levels we drifted apart due to College and University.

At College, I made friends with Vikki and we have been best friends ever since. Our friendship has seen us through the fun and games of our early 20's where we tried to pickle ourselves with booze, happy occasions such as new jobs, the birth of my kids & travel adventures. We've also been there for each other during the sad times including the loss of our grandparents & relationship breakdowns. 

It makes me sort of sad to see this hashtag rubbish of #friendshipday being used. When teens post this hashtag to Instagram is it really an opportunity to celebrate a friendship? Unwittingly you see, it can also be a way of excluding people. People like my younger self! Honestly, I don't think I would have appeared on one of these hashtags had Instagram been around back in 1995.

Now in 2018, how would it feel to not appear on your "friends" friendship day hashtag? Not great I would assume. I'm sure that in the wrong hands it will be used intentionally to negatively impact upon someone. Which makes me feel sad. I see so many posts on Facebook of teenagers who have gone missing from home and also posts regarding the increase in mental health issues of the young. Maybe this all adds to those feelings they have? I don't know, I'm just a photographer.

All of this makes me realise that my teens were all the better for not having Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. What do you think? Do you think the same as me?

If you are a teenager, reading this I want you to know that, you're doing alright. The right friendships will come your way when you are least expecting them. Don't think less of yourself because you aren't someones best friend. Think more of yourself because you are the consistently kind person. You've got this! Teenage years can be tough, be kind to yourself.

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