Friendships are strange.
The space we let them occupy is constantly shifting, changing. We allow how close that space is to our heart, we choose how much to let someone in. Yet other times, friendships cross lines we don’t want them to, or they leave altogether even though we didn’t ask them to go.
Being socially isolated has caused me to think more about relationships than ever before. Pair that with moving out and away, and friendships are at the front of my mind.
And there is a lot to say.
It’s amazing how all my relationships differ. How the connections and intimacy levels vary so much.
Some of my close friends knew me in high school, and those friendships carry the weight of time and growth and finding connection outside of classes and teachers and exams. Finding that common ground outside of school is important, and I love talking about life with them. However, other friendships didn’t survive life after high school, which is how it should be, too. If my only social life was with those who knew me when I was fourteen, I’d be concerned.
We need to meet new people and we need to accept that some stay in our lives longer than others. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but a friendship that comes to an end doesn’t lessen the love that was there at the time.
But we’re all constantly changing and growing older and people move away or just move on, and the connection lessens and the friendship fades. It’s normal, and right.
The more I grow and mature and make up my own mind about my life, the easier it is to accept when friendships do change and possibly dissolve. In primary school, it was the biggest deal to have someone sit with another group at lunch. Linking arms with someone else was the end of the world.
But now, in my twenties, well – no one’s linked arms with me for a while, but I don’t think that’s personal.
In all seriousness, now that I’m older it’s easier to let go and accept that change happens, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to realise a friendship is no longer what it used to be.
It means realising you can’t force someone to be the idea you have in your mind. It means realising sometimes your expectations of someone else aren’t realistic. It might also mean that sometimes your expectations are realistic, and they just didn’t put in the time.
I don’t have hundreds of friends, but I don’t need hundreds of friends.
(In saying that, I am looking forward to finding a church, or going to a writing group, or a new job, and meeting people.) (But I am also not alone, or lonely, which is a beautiful thing to actualise.)
While I don’t need hundreds of friends, I do need variety.
I love talking to different people about different things, or different people about the same things, and hearing a fresh opinion. I love learning about other people, when they let you in and you see what you didn’t know before. Two people could have the same opinion, but their experiences and their day-to-day life can vary dramatically.
In primary school, and even high school to an extent, it was exciting to be called someone’s best friend. It felt special, it felt good to have your reputation paired with someone else’s name.
As I’ve grown older, however, I feel that ‘best friend’ doesn’t do friendships justice. I have numerous close friends, and it feels wrong to say that just one of them is the best friend.
Having a boyfriend also blurs the term of best friend, because in a way, he is my closest friend and priority. This doesn’t mean my girl friends are less important, and it doesn’t mean I don’t prioritise them, too. But the love you have for a significant other is different to the love you have for your friends.
In mentioning significant others – these are relationships that will last, or we hope will. For those who are married, you make a commitment to be in relationship for the rest of your life. And, for me, immediate family is also a lifelong relationship.
Despite the coming and going of friends, family is constant. Your relationship will still go through changes, but it won’t just stop. (Not for me, anyway.)
I don’t know if this post was meant to address anything specific, or if I’ve only caused more questions for myself, but it felt like it had to be written, so here we are. Writing longer posts is something I really enjoy, but I usually feel like I’ve left something important out, or that I’ve written something that could be misunderstood. So if a part two appears in the next couple of weeks (no promises), you can have a read and see if I clarify one of these points.