I can vaguely recall pre-k and kindergarten. Recess and proudly walking up to the ice-cream lady to purchase my 35 cent strawberry shortcake are the highlights, but I cannot remember when exactly I made my first ever friend.
Memories of friend-building activities come to mind. Gathering in a circle and introducing yourself in clockwise order, followed by what your favorite color and toy was, but I don’t think there was one distinct memory that stands out.
In retrospect, it makes sense: much like those ice-breaker exercises, there isn’t this formal selection. You aren’t studied and paired like those ineffective dorm room surveys.
In life we kinda just gravitate towards people with shared interests. Maybe I have the same action-figure, maybe I think my middle name is goofy too, and through such bonds friendships are formed.
He who finds a true friend, has found a great thing. There is strength in numbers, and in this cold, unforgiving world having someone to relate to makes it a lot easier.
Not to mention how much easier life would be if somehow we all saw each other as friend. It’s why we wanted the coolest clothes in high school, it’s why we joined a greek organization in college, and it’s why we hold these bonds close to us.
But as I’ve gotten older i’ve come to understand that, like all great things, friendships, too, come to an end. As we journey through life our different experiences alter our perspectives.
Things we may have held true for the longest, may now be false in our eyes. Habits we were once accustomed to may no longer be apart of us.
Particularly with friends who have been the closest the longest, severed ties are never easy to accept. So in defense, we adopt the idea of keeping them forever, regardless of how unrealistic this notion is.
It is this type of mindset that makes transiting out of friendships so hard. Once we understand that as natural a friendship comes is as natural as they can go, we’ll accept such outcomes with more grace.
Change is one of life’s few constants. It often happens out of nowhere and is out of our control. I remember graduating high school and having to leave the majority of my close friends behind to attend university out of state.
I vowed to keep them close. They had impacted me dearly, and I truly valued their friendships — why wouldn’t I try to maintain those relationships. At graduation day four years later, less than a handful of those friends knew when I was walking.
I don’t think becoming distant is ever an intentional offense. Any series of events could push or pull us in different directions, away from old friends, but not in a malicious way.
It could be a dedication to pursuing a D1 college scholarship, the demand of a career job or a new religion that taps into the oh so important quality time every relationship deserves.
While difficult, it’s our responsibility to recognize this and, instead of blaming that individual or resenting their life change, support and love them in whatever capacity possible.
Unfortunately this is not the case. We tend to resent those who decide to lead different lives, chastising them for daring to prioritize their aspirations ahead of the best intentions of the friendship.
The movie Superbad touched on this age-old trope. One of the underlying themes of the movie is one friend resenting the other for choosing to abandon a decade plus long bond for college.
Just as easy and natural befriending someone is, should be the revolving door by which they leave. Good people that bring true value to our lives are a blessing, and forcing them to stay in our lives when life is calling them elsewhere is selfish.
In 2016, if you meet anyone bragging about never changing and boasting about always been the same since day one, do not bother getting to know them any further. Change is not only good, it’s healthy.
Every day there is something new for us to learn and unpack. If you manage to remain unchanged by all the new information you receive, you either aren’t applying yourself or refusing to absorb it.
When we grow as individuals, we aren’t throwing away the fundamental truths that make us ourselves, we’re simply building upon it. Unfortunately, it’s a process that, when not on the same accord as, say, a best friend, could potentially cause discord.
Opposing views and a lifestyle change is not necessarily a deal breaker, but can understandably create a space between two individuals that was previously not there.
It Will Be
They say “if you let something go, and it comes back, then you’ll know.” I feel the same about friendships.
People get bent out of shape when any type of relationship ends; as if all the good memories are are flushed down the toilet once two part ways. This does not have to be the case.
When someone brings light into your life, it doesn’t matter how it ends, and no matter in what capacity, that good will always remain. And to disregard any of the positivity due to the lack of their presence in your life does nothing more than create resentment.
When we look at friends as gifts and not possessions, we will truly appreciate their value, regardless of how long they stay in our lives. You will regret keeping someone in your life that does not want to be there.
You will also regret staying in someone’s life when you feel it’s time to move on. What is meant to be, will be, and keeping this in mind helps when someone close becomes distant.