I remember being younger and thinking that “friends are forever” and that I would be so blessed to have my closest friends in my life forever and ever and that nothing would ever tear us apart- we wouldn’t be like other people who grow apart- because that just would not happen to us. I am blessed to have had the people I called my closest friends in my life at some point, because I truly believe they helped me become the woman I am today, but we were not lucky enough to stay “friends forever”. The funny thing is that people come and go in your life everyday, some of them strangers, and some of them friends. Life is such a crazy, fast-paced ride that before we even realize it, sometimes we lose some friends and acquaintances along the way.
At High School graduation, I remember crying relentlessly, hugging my friends close. It was a mix of excitement and sadness; I would be leaving behind my friends, my best friends to go off to college. This is one the first experiences I had with losing friends. It isn’t like I even lost friends, I just lost touch with my friends and the relationships became strained between lack of communication, distance and different interests. I think this is a fairly common experience for this age group as we moved out of our comfort zones, tried to become independent and make friends with completely new people.
Fast-forward to college:
In college, you meet so many people it is almost overwhelming. But during this time period, I believe you meet some of the people that will become your lifelong friends. This was such a fun time in my life because I felt like I had such a wide variety of friends and so many acquaintances and I just remember it as being an extremely happy period in my life. We learn so much more than what we are studying in college; we learn how to live with others, how to deal with others and how to create bonds with people that will last a lifetime. I have a couple of friends from college that I consider lifelong friends and hold dearly to my heart and cannot imagine my life without them.
Then you graduate and things change again (FYI I hate change if you couldn’t tell). You move away, or your friends move away and everyone gets real people jobs or are studying for GREs and applying to more school. Friendships and relationships become estranged and you start to see which of your friendships are resilient enough to overcome all the changes and strain. Unfortunately, you realize that it is no longer convenient for certain friendships, or that without binge drinking on weekends you and another friend no longer have common interests, or simply that you just lose touch with one another. This is a sad time because I remember reflecting on just a few months prior when I was so happy and seemed like I had such a close group of friends. Now I had a real job, and my hours were crazy and I hardly got to see my friends and it was challenging to plan outings with everyone’s varying schedules.
Over the past few years, people have come in and out of my life- for better or for worse. There have been times when I have been so upset, stayed home and cried over a glass of red wine and sulked about why my friend doesn’t want to be my friend anymore , or why I heard that this friend was talking to that friend about me and I wondered what I must have done wrong.
I still deal with the sadness from time to time because I feel like over the past few months, my relationships with my friends have changed greatly. I have a few close friends who I would do anything for, and I know they would do the same for me. But then I look back and see there are such strained relationships with friends that I don’t even know if I can call friends anymore.
We used to be so close and do everything together- laugh, cry, cry because we were laughing so much. We used to tell each other everything, not fearing judgement from each other, we used to stuff our faces full of junk food just because we didnt care. We used to know each others schedules and we used to enter each others houses without knocking. And now I couldn’t feel farther apart- I don’t know what you are up to lately, I don’t know how I would even start a conversation with you if I saw you. I would hope that it would flow easily, but then again there has been so much lapsed time. Things just seem different. There have been a few challenges our friendship faced, but I never would have guessed they would have brought things to where they are now. I guess this is just part of the changes that occur. I will always look back on these friendships and smile at the memories, and occasionally I will be saddened by the fact that things are so different now. But what I have come to realize is that I can no longer sulk on this. Friendships are tumultuous, people come and go. Despite it all, those who are going to stand by your side will continue to do so and those who will slip away will slip away. I cannot dwell on how things are different, and I won’t consider these “failed friendships”, but ships that have sailed in different directions. Maybe one day the wind will blow us both in the same direction again, or may it won’t. But I have learned something from every friendship I have had to date: it takes two parties to make things work and I cannot solely place blame or guilt on myself for these friendships not working out- that is just life.
I am so grateful for those in my corner- through all my good times and bad- they have helped me more than I can ever express. As I move through this journey called life- this hectic, crazy, rollercoaster- I will hold my friends close by and let them know how much I appreciate them. I will not dwell on those friends that have slipped away; everything happens for a reason.
I have always been a people-pleaser, and I always wanted to be friends with everyone and make everyone happy, but I realized that I was doing that at my expense. I need to care about myself and want to be friends with myself before I can expect others to want to be friends with me and this is one of the things I have learned over the past few years that I still need to work on.
How have your friendships changed over the years?