Friends Forever. Surely we all had charm bracelets or anklets if you were an eighties babe like me. But most of our friendships probably have an expiration date. It took me a really long time to come around to this concept. In fact, I don’t know that every day I am totally there, but some people are just meant to be situational friends. And that is 100% Okay! God puts people into our lives to teach us a lesson or help us grow in a particular phase. Then when our life, or their’s twists and turns, as lives always do, the friendships fade away. I spent a lot of time mourning the loss of these relationships, instead of doing what I should be doing. Honoring them for the gift that they were and moving the hell on with my life. Here’s some things that have helped me on this imperfect journey:
Situational friends are completely necessary.
Thinking about moving into my college dorm room, riddled with anxiety I needed the friends I made in those years to talk me through bad college relationships (thank thankfully also did not last), bad grades on tests I tried to wing, and all the pressures that came when my non-fully developed frontal lobe thought that college was the “real world.” I don’t keep up with most of my college friends. I think that’s a product of moving back to the middle of the country after going to college in Philadelphia and having most of my friends remain there or in Manhattan after school. Nothing happened really to most of those relationships, just time and distance. I will, never be able to thank those friends enough for being there for me the first time I was on my own.
It is (usually) not my fault.
Things just happen. People move away. People get into serious relationships and shift priorities, interests, or just change themselves entirely. I used to think that any time a relationship dissipated, it was my fault. Was there something wrong with me that I couldn’t manage to keep all of my friends forever? Sure,I have some friends that I have managed to keep around a long time, but why did it seem that more friendships ended than celebrated friendiversaries? The more I talked to other women the more I realized this is a very natural progression in life. I was not unique. Now I’ll be honest, I have my flaws and I’m sure some friendships did end, in fact I know some did, because of things I did. The most important thing in those friendships was to look for the lesson.
And there is always a lesson.
Have you ever been used by a friend? Or someone you thought was a friend? I’m sure we all have. Learning these lessons made me truly value the kind generous people in my life. Unfortunately, the best teacher of this is when I treated someone badly. I joke with my toddler that I’d rather have him get hit at a play date than hit a kid. I know, I know that sounds terrible, hear me out! I handle being gracious, much better than feeling guilty. The lesson is much bigger when we have to face our shortcomings head on and learn from them. Ugh! Personal growth. Its actually the worst. Haha.
The ones that last are gold.
I have a group of friends that have known me since I was fourteen. Acne covered, braces, and awkward fourteen. They saw my first boyfriend dump me and watched me get married. These ladies know me in a way that predates my knowledge of myself. This is amazing and also terrifying. They can call me on things in a way many other friends cannot. I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. I say this to make you, dear reader, treasure your long term friendships, but not to deter you from making new ones. Because while these ladies know me historically super well, I see them maybe once a year. Distance, jobs, children, you know life gets in the way. My friends that I am doing motherhood with on a daily basis can tell you what my toddler will eat and where I hide candy from my kids. Are all of these friends lifers or are some of them situational as well? Only time will tell. I think Girl Scouts said it best,
“Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.”
I hope you have a life filled with both silver and gold!