Young adulthood takes you to a new middle ground that teaches you a lot about friendships. Friends really are the family you choose. Your family supports you, but friends are the ones who really get it because they’re usually going through the same things at the same time. But they’re also, to my countless BFF trinkets’ bitter disappointment, not forever.
Last week, my best friend who I used to think would be my maid of honor; who I spent countless nights with hashing out life over glasses of wine, texted me for the first time in months. Her tone was stiff, unfamiliar, and overly enthusiastic, as if to make up for the lost time. We had some back and forth before asking the usual questions, like did we get that job, are we still with that guy and did you hear about that one friend? For a lot of months leading up to that point I was venting to other friends how annoyed I was with her. How I’d give her a piece of my mind the next time we talked. How she was rude for only calling when she needed something and how she had changed from the chill person I’d known into a stuck up person I didn’t recognize. But the more we talked, the more I could hear in her voice that she was doing her best, and she was happy. I let go of my distanced feelings and sincerely congratulated her. I said I was excited to see where her talent takes her and I meant it.
Our conversation went on for a few more days and fizzled out. Do I want to hang out with her and talk all the time like we used to? No, not really. Do I still have some things I want to confront her on? Yes, but at this new stage in our friendship I feel like it’d just be pushing her away, maybe too far away to bring back. I’m rooting for her and I’ll always want to know that she is well. The truth is we don’t need to take as much space within each other’s lives anymore, and that’s okay, because that space is getting some newfound use.
The concept of “forever” gives so much comfort. There’s a saying that your age is the miles per hour you’re moving through life, as in time flies faster and faster. It’s kind of like social media: within a week your post is buried and everyone’s looking for the next update. Things change on a dime in the world and a lot of them are scary changes, but a lot of them are also great. If you’re pushed outside your comfort zone then you learn that you have the strength and ability to adjust.
I was so ready to burn that bridge with my friend, and I’ve helped others through times when they decided to burn some bridges of their own. But I’m glad I didn’t. Unless you have to let the relationship go for your mental or physical health, I think it’s healthy to try and keep that connection, in whatever new form it takes, if they meant something to you at any point in time. As you get older you’ll find that there is a special kind of bond formed from the sheer amount time spent together, especially if that bond was within the crazy, formative years of the late teens and early twenties. As you leave that phase, if you’re changing, sometimes you can’t live with them, but don’t necessarily want to have to live without them. Navigating that will teach you so much about yourself and other relationships. You count the ones who are still with you even nearer and dearer to your heart. You become more self-actualized and accept that change is something that will happen over and over, but that the pain just might be worth the growth.
Cover Image by Nirrimi Firebrace