As I think about the friendships I’ve had over the years, the one thing that stands out most is how much they’ve changed. I never imagined when I was in elementary school that the friends I had back then would possibly not be the friends I had in high school, or college, nor at times, in some of my darkest hours. But, life proved that I knew extraordinarily little about people. I soon learned however how often life changes people, and how much people change the way you view life.
As a youth, I thought that a BFF—best friend forever was just that, a friend for life. How disappointed I was when I realized that people have other ideas from mine about friendship. I think a lot of us have been surprised by who we call our friends; and not only the ones that disappointed us, but the ones that also teach us the most powerful lessons about honesty, trust, and love.
Friendship love is one of the most special kinds of love. It’s probably the closest to family love one may know. There was a time that my friends were just as important to me as my family, sometimes maybe more important, especially in grade school when all a kid wants is to be liked and admired by their friends. As I aged, I learned that friendships go through iterations of various kinds. At times, you lose friends to transitions like moving or getting involved in romantic love. Sometimes, you lose similar interests which can then lead to dissimilar interest in one another. Then, there are those times when there just seems to be no real reason why your friendships have changed, but they have become different, maybe even nonexistent. How do we recover from that? I go back to being a child on the playground when you see yourself or someone else left out of the circle. It’s such a lonely and confusing feeling to be left out. All you want is to belong to be included in a group. It’s not much different as an adult.
We all want to feel a sense of belonging. It creates a sense of identity that gives us self-esteem and security. One of the ways I grieved the loss of friendships from the past was that I reminded myself of the kind of love I exchanged with them when we were friends. I was thankful I had the opportunity to have the experiences I had with some of my friends. At other times, I lived through the pain of having had and lost them to circumstances, including to death.
In my book, “Adulting As A Millennial: A Guide to Everything Your Parents Didn’t Teach You” I talk about having standards in my relationships—all of them—including in friendship. One of the toughest lessons I learned about some of the people I’ve loved in friendships is that my friends are not always happy for where my life is going. Some are envious and intimidated. Other friends have taught me too, what types of friends I need in order to feel seen and cared for, in a reciprocal way.
Are you someone who holds onto the friendships of the past because of loyalty or memories that you especially can’t let go of? How is that serving your higher good these days? Is it keeping you trapped in the past, not allowing space for beautiful new relationships to enter and blossom?
Are you also able to see your accountability in those relationships for what they’ve become or do you expect that you will only have one kind of relationship with your peers, instead of the many different types you truly desire?
I challenge you to look closely at the people in your life you call, “friend.” What do you know about friendship? What do you want in friendship? And what kind of friend do you believe yourself to be? I think for some of us it may be time to walk openly and lovingly into mutually healthy, beneficial relationships. What about you?
*This blog is about becoming free. It’s a reflection of introspective thoughts and experiences that have crossed miles of self-discovery. I created this blog to inspire others to live life with less self-criticism, judgment and openness to new experiences. May you find that you learn how to live a life by design and on your own terms!*