The topic of friendships has come up a lot lately. In my teens and twenties, I couldn’t count the number of best friends on my hands. I had amassed a group of best friends in high school and college. Each place I worked, I would also have a friend to add to my growing list. I didn’t realize at the time that quantity definitely did not equal quality. When I first started dating my boyfriend, I will never forget what he said to me. In 5 – 10 years you will have only 2-3 close friends in your life. I was quick to defend my friendships saying that each person in my life meant something and that we would always be in each other’s lives. Shortly after he made that statement, it started becoming true.
It wasn’t obvious to me at first. Slowly but surely, friends started fading away not because we didn’t want to be friends but life took its course. Friends were getting married moving out of the city, friends were having babies and their times weren’t as plenty, friends were chasing dreams outside of New York. It crushed me. I couldn’t handle all the changes in my friendships. I also took it so personally wondering what went wrong. I psycho-analyzed everything from declined party invitations to not flying home for Christmas. I didn’t fully appreciate that this was the natural course of life. Friends come and go and every friendship like a relationship has ebbs and flows.
A friendship like a relationship needs nurturing and both parties have to make an equal effort. I somehow didn’t get that memo until very recently. I would fly all across the country to visit friends and never have them visit me. I would drive, bus, train, and run anywhere to see friends spending weekends, money, and effort into the friendship because it was important to me only to have them never return the favor. It’s not a matter of tit for tat but in some ways when one person is making all the effort and the other is coasting by well, that’s an unhealthy relationship. I would grow resentment towards them and that just brings out the worst in people.
I’ve realized recently that we all have very different definitions of friendship. I believe a friend is someone you call when you have good and bad news. Who you can call and know 100% that they are there for you when you need them. A friend is someone who isn’t jealous of your accomplishments but toasts to your success. Someone who you can laugh with but also cry with. A friend is someone who helps you become the best version of you but also calls you out when you’re being an asshole. Am I crazy here that I think this? I also believe that just because you’ve known someone for a very long time, it doesn’t mean they make a good friend. People, like relationships change over time. I can say that I’m a different person now than the person I was when I was 21 or even 27. I’m constantly evolving and thank goodness! I wouldn’t want to be the same person I was in my early twenties because I would be a confused hot mess. People change and if you don’t grow with your friends, someone will be left in the dust. Sometimes, the reasons why you became friends 10 years ago aren’t the reasons holding you together anymore now.
Then you have those toxic friends…aren’t those the best? Everyone has a least one! They feed negative garbage into your life and try to cut you down. I’ve learned that it’s not about you at all, it’s about them. It’s stemmed from insecurity and jealousy. I’ve had a few of these types of friends and I realized recently that life is way too short to spend time with these people. Simple answer, break up with that friend. Ending a friendship is never easy. It takes cojones to be honest and upfront with that person.
I don’t want to say that friendships aren’t worth fighting for because they are. Great friends are really hard to find and the ones who are in your life for the right reasons are worth hanging on to. It took me a while to figure out the difference between a good and bad friend. Now, I fully appreciate and respect the natural selection of friendships which is when friendships fade away from your life. I believe you should only have people in your life who are positive and who catch you when you fall and who bring you up when you’re down.