Every day I learn something new. Unless you have a vacuum as opposed to a brain in your head, you probably do as well. It doesn’t have to be something profound, like the secret to eternal happiness or extremely relevant. It could be classroom information, something about your partner, or something about the world in general. Recently, I had a revelation concerning friendships. I’m not exactly a woman of the world. My life is far from interesting or a point of reference, but from time to time I get a personal revelation I think I ought to share. This is one of those.
In my 19 years, I’ve been a member of several friendship groups. I haven’t had a best friend since I was little (a strong deviation from the normal trend amongst members of my sex and age group) but instead I have had several “best mates” (the word several here may be a slight exaggeration, but I’ve had more than 3). Every time I’ve changed schools/church/graduated/left summer camp/finished holiday lesson, I have promised to stay in touch with the friends I’d made. I’d collect phone numbers, email addresses, facebook names etc. Increased communication mediums have made access easier but has only slowed down, not stopped the inevitable fragmentation and disintegration of friendships.
Not all friendships end with betrayals, fights or an episode highly dramatic and movie worthy. I have friends I thought I couldn’t live without about 4 years ago that I no longer speak to. Now when we see each other, it’s a hi – bye experience, littered with our paltry attempts at conversation. It’s obvious during the conversation that we are both wondering how we got to where we are and if there is any point I trying to get back to where we were.
With these friendships, someone has grown, at a rate too fast for the other person to keep up. Life has happened. Births, deaths, hormones, boyfriends, girlfriends, sex, religion, faith, school, sports, commitments, family, health problems, gossip and hurt happen. As they happen, personalities change, till both parties find that the person they were friends with doesn’t really exist anymore, and their new personalities aren’t exactly attracted to each other.
It’s hard to accept. It doesn’t mean one person has turned horrific and you are the victim. No one has to be the victim (although it does happen in some cases). It just means life has happened. Personality changes are inevitable. There is saying “for 20 children cannot play together for 20 years”. It hurts that your friendships have changed and it’s sad that what your mind settled as permanent was simply temporary.
If you and every single one of your friends were still exactly the same, you have a problem - you are emotionally stunted, and so are they. Very few friendships will last a lifetime, but not all. The only guarantee we have in life is change. Roll with the changes and adapt. J