Are some of your friendships that you thought would last forever gently fading into nonexistence? Now that you don’t have 3rd and 4th period together to pass notes in or that tiny dorm room to share, perhaps you’re realizing that one or both of you don’t value the friendship as much as you had hoped. As I always speak personally in my posts, I will say that losing friends has been one of the most challenging learning curves of my quarter life period.
Some of my high school friends were people I met when I was just four years old. For different reasons in each relationship, I rarely spoke to them by the time I was in my 3rd year of University. Some of those friendships were easier to let go of than others. I can now see that some of them came to an end for my own good, but the loss of others stung for a long time. I couldn’t understand how one minute I was talking to this person every single day and the next, we were lucky if we spoke once a month.
Here’s what I figured out…
I realized that some bonds require a time and a place. If the time of your lives and the physical place you’re both in don’t jive, the friendship naturally fails. What was most painful for me in realizing this was that neither of us asked for the outcome or intentionally caused it. It just happened.
I also realized that acceptance is your best strategy in dealing with the end of a friendship. I began telling myself that that specific person was in my life for the stage that they were best suited for. If I take a long, hard look at one relationship, I can see the ways in which that person was crucial to a certain stage in my life. My childhood best friend was wildly imaginative and we created an entire world of our own together. My best friend in high school was my infectiously social partner in crime. And my number one in first year University was a kind-hearted girl who was my support when I was homesick and someone who I opened my eyes to new perspectives with.
Thirdly, it has become apparent that not all is lost with every single one of these friendships. I went for years without speaking to some of them and then one day a text or Facebook message is sent and we find ourselves catching up. Some conversations are more meaningful than others but all of them feel warm and nostalgic and not like we need to be as close as before, we just need to be. There’s something so comfortable about talking with someone who you grew up with. Someone who knew you before you were you. Maybe your paths didn’t grow together but the root started in the same place.
And lastly, I started to understand that I wasn’t taking time to look forward and appreciate the amazing situation that growing older afforded me. Instead of feeling sorry for the loss of a friendship, I began to focus on all those I had gained. Now, without school as a structure for who I see and socialize with, I get to choose the friendships I put my energy into. I am slowly curating the people in my life who matter most, and I feel a difference in these relationships. They don’t require a time and place – they feel easy, equal, and healthy.
I know how painful it can be to let a friendship fade. Try to practice patience and acceptance in knowing that changing relationships mean growth and growth is good! You are both evolving and coming into your own – it’s just bittersweet when that growth steers you in opposite directions. How will you gracefully handle the end of something good to make space for peace and new, meaningful relationships that are relevant to what you need now?