In your entire lifetime, you’ll make a handful of friends. You’ll make childhood friends, school friends, college friends, work friends, neighbor friends, family friends, acquaintances, friends through networking, the list goes on. There are friends who you’ll click with immediately. There are friends who you hate at first and then the relationship grows into something unexpected and strong. There are friends who you can only handle in small doses. There are friends who you will eventually burn bridges with and part ways. There are friends who you find out were never truly your friend, but friends out of convenience, or because they wanted to benefit from you and use you in some way. There are friends who are actually frenemies, keeping you close because ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer,’ as they are secretly wishing your demise. There are also friends who you part ways with amicably simply because you grew apart. There are friends you lose because someone moves away and you lose touch. There are friends where you can go long periods of time without speaking to each other simply because different lives and paths, but when you do reunite when stars align, it’s like you never left each other. You pick back up where you left off. And there are also friends you speak to everyday.
There is no one answer to what kind of friendship you will have and experience. You live and learn. Not every friendship is perfect. And your friends may not always understand what you are going through.
I’ve been through a lot of friendships in my life and admittedly, I’ve burned a lot of bridges myself. But when I look back on them, I realized it was their time to end. A chapter on my life closed. Not all friendships are meant to last. Every person in your life is meant to teach you something, as hard as the lesson is to learn.
I learned that people are fickle. A best friend may leave you because they are not mature enough to balance friends and lovers. They may also be petty and seek revenge in their ex by befriending all their ex’s friends and thus you become a casualty in that battle because your friendship ends up on the back burner as they try to steal someone else’s friends.
I learned that people can also be very selfish. Thinking only of themselves and their own feelings in a situation with no consideration for others. And when confronted, are too immature to see beyond themselves and thus play the victim.
I learned that people can be shady as all hell. They will take advantage of your kindness and generosity and possibly your entire family. They’ll treat you like a friend but another family member like dirt. They’ll also be cheap as all hell, paying down to the exact penny when everyone else is generous and magnanimous.
People can also be fake. Being friends with you out of convenience for a time. When your use has expired or all dried up, will move on and no longer care about putting effort into the friendship. You’ll see they were walking on eggshells simply to get what they wanted and needed. And then walk out.
But the trick here is to not let these experiences mar and poison the good friendships you do have. Do not let those bad people scar you into thinking everyone else is that way and mold you into a bitter, unforgiving person, not giving others a chance. And don’t let it distract you and have you end up neglecting your existing friendships. Don’t punish those who are standing by loyally and steadfast. Those people are your BFFs.
Your BFFs will stand the test of time. You may not always have time for each other but you work to make time. Because you make time for what’s important to you. And who’s important to you. And you’ll cherish when you can, whether those moments are rare or abundant in your life. The funny thing is I’ve always taken a lot of pictures. But looking back, I wish I had taken even more photos of me and my friends over the years. Of the good and the bad. I really love looking back and remembering all the fun times and even the not so fun but crazy times we went through together. They were still great because we went through it together. From struggling poor college kids to thriving adults, we’re in this adventure together. Money buys a lot of things, but it doesn’t buy you time. Time with those you love the most.
As I start to walk into my 30s, I’ve weeded out the people I don’t need in my life, valuing quality over quantity. I only want to make time for those who add value to my life and enrich it. I want to go on trips and make memories with my closest friends and family. I feel bad because this is what I should have been doing all along. Devoting more time to those who will stay long term. But you live and you learn.
I don’t completely regret all the friendships that have ended, for they happened for a reason to reinforce the importance of everyone else in my life that has stuck around to this day. Invest in them. Love them. Tell them. Hug them at every hello and goodbye.
Happy National Best Friends Day.