The Trials and Tribulations of Friendships

There are countless movies, songs, paintings and novels dedicated to the heartbreaks that come from romantic relationships, and the joys of intimate companionships. The anguish of losing one’s first love, the pain of a heartbreak or the beauty of falling in love. For those of us who aren’t well versed in dating or having cuddle buddies for the winter season, platonic relationships are one of our primary sources of love, joy and fulfilment. Friends are the people that we tell our secrets to, laugh with, people that we spend most of our time with and the people that we depend on when things get rough. Subsequently, having to let go of a friend is devastating. I don’t think enough songs express the deep sense of loss that comes with cutting ties with someone that you allowed to see you at your best and your worst, someone that you’ve shared ambitions with, losses and endless laughs. I am here to affirm that these losses are difficult and worthy of having more artistic expressions dedicated to them.

In university, we begin to experience the realities of life. The world seems to get a bit darker and I’m not sure if its because the world has always been a cold place and it gets clearer the older we get, or if things are just getting progressively worse. Regardless, we all need light in our lives. The friendships that we form should, therefore, be a source of warmth and good energy. Friends should be people that take the time to know you, understand you and contribute to your growth as a human being. There’s a general sense that friends are the family that we choose, and that implies that friendships are very important. I have always gone into friendships with the objective of getting to know people, their likes, dislikes, insecurities and their talents. That’s because I want to treat them in a manner specifically suited for them, help them, be there for them and cheer them on. Making time to hang out with friends, have fun and just be oneself seems like an inherent requirement for a healthy relationship, but I have come to the realisation that it is not the mindset everyone has.  

It seems obvious, but I’ll say it: friendships are a two-way street. There needs to be a reciprocal flow of love, trust, loyalty, communication and upliftment. It is important to know when you are slacking as a friend, knowing when you should be better for the ones you love and stepping up to the plate. It is then equally important to follow Nina Simone’s words and leave the table when love is no longer being served. Friendships shouldn’t be strenuous. They shouldn’t drain you of all your energy and make you cynical about relationships. Your friends should not make you feel small, they should be supportive, and should call you out when you’re in the wrong, to stop your toxic behaviour. Most importantly, you should never have to feel alone.

It is difficult knowing when to be patient with a friend, or when you have to cut ties for your own well-being, regardless of how much you love someone. I have found that if you communicate your feelings about any issues you may have in a relationship, and your feelings are invalidated or aren’t taken into consideration, take that as a sign. I’m the first to call out human beings for being naturally selfish but to a point, when someone makes it clear that you don’t matter enough for them to think about how their actions affect you, walk away.

It may be hard leaving behind a friendship that you’ve cherished, but life is too short to hold on to people who don’t appreciate and value you. Memories aren’t enough to sustain a friendship; the present situation should be healthy. People aren’t memories. People change, and you must act according to your own best interests because unfortunately, people you may consider friends may not be who you think they are. Some people have their own shortcomings that they need to acknowledge before they can be good friends, and that’s okay.

My hope for everyone in the world is that they find the Meredith Grey to their Cristina Yang. It is so important to have at least one person that you can speak to. Life is hard, and although you must be your own best friend, I think having a few others is necessary to live your best life. It’s nice to have people to share good and bad times with, plus therapy is expensive.  Girlfriends are more important than boyfriends because they are - or should always be there.

Let me end off by saying this: don’t allow anyone to convince you, that you are not worthy of fruitful and magnificent friendships. Rather, make sure that you are the best friend that you can possibly be.