On a long long list of pills that are hard to swallow, this is one of the most difficult for me. I’m the kind of person who holds on to people. I’m extremely social and love to be close to others. I rely on my friends for energy and comfort, and I like to know I can always count on them. I think that is pretty common among most. The term “best friends forever” really means a lot to me. However, I’ve recently come to realize that friends are not always forever. Here’s what I’ve learned:
Let People Go When They Want to Go
My biggest issue is coming to terms with the fact that a close friendship has run its course. It’s most difficult when a friendship doesn’t end in an argument or a disagreement, it just trickles out. When it becomes harder and harder to make and keep plans with someone, when it seems they always have something better to do than be with you, when they say they love and care about you but don’t make the time. It’s really hard to make sense of it, but when a friendship is no longer mutually beneficial, that means it’s time to let it go. This doesn’t mean you have to hold resentment toward them or never speak to them again—in fact, it’s best that you don’t. People get busy and you won’t always be on the top of their to-do list and that’s OK. It doesn’t mean they don’t love and care about you in some capacity. Just accept that people will come in and out of your life as they please, you may be friends again in the future, or at the very least you are a friendly face to them.
Learn a Lesson
You can learn something from every friendship. Taking time to think about what people have taught me has made me feel a bit better about letting go because it’s proof that your relationship with them didn’t mean nothing. This can be something tangible such as them teaching you how to surf or something that you learned by observing them, like how they made people feel included. At the end of the day, you can learn something from everyone and every situation. Hold onto that knowledge! It could be helpful in the future.
Live in the Moment
In general, nothing in life is certain and nothing truly lasts forever. Don’t spend time worrying about if you and your person will remain besties after college or once you move to different cities thousands of miles apart. Just enjoy your time with the people you hold close and don’t take for granted what you have with them. Friendship can be difficult, especially long-distance, so don’t hold the same expectations for your friends that live down the street as you do for those that don’t. That’s unrealistic and will lead to disappointment. You have to learn to take what you can get and be happy with what you’ve got.
All in all, navigating friendships at my age can be a source of anxiety. I’ve asked a lot of people if it ever gets any easier and the consensus seems to be that no, it doesn’t. However, my philosophy is that things will turn out the way they are supposed to and that sometimes you just have to go with the flow.