Accepting That Your Childhood BFF Might Not Be Your Best Friend Forever

Accepting That Your Childhood BFF Might Not Be Your Best Friend Forever

People change as they grow up, and so do their relationships.
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Most people always remember their first best friend. Maybe you built forts in the woods together, had slumber parties, or played on the same sports teams together. You were probably totally inseparable; nobody understood you like they did. And you were both absolutely positive that you were going to remain best friends forever, no matter what happened or how many years passed. But as you grow and mature, so do your relationships. It can be hard to accept that friendship dynamics change, especially if it’s not for the better.

My best friend and I met when we were nine, in fourth grade. I transferred into a new elementary school, and we slowly became attached at the hip. Apart from my family, she was the most important person in my life. Throughout middle school, we spent endless nights staying up late watching our favorite movies, reading Teen Vogue, talking about boys and eating Oreos and marshmallows. Our teachers went as far as to purposefully assign us to different class schedules, because we distracted each other in class.

When we left middle school and went to different high schools, we saw less and less of each other. We both made new friends and occasionally got tied up in boyfriends. But we talked every day, all day. If anything, we only grew closer, as we relied on each other for emotional support during the hardship of adjusting to new places with new people. She was absolutely everything to me. Whenever I got a new boyfriend, or even developed a new crush, I always sought her approval of the guy, rather than my parent’s. I valued her opinion more than anyone else’s.

When senior year came around, so did the college application process. The only reason I applied to the University of New Hampshire was because she did. My mom constantly encouraged me to apply, but I was dead set against it because I wanted to go to college out of state. My mind only changed when my friend said “Well––I’m applying. Imagine if we both went, and then we could live together!” That was it, I was sold.

But when the fall came, she went away to her dream school in Ohio, and I ended up at UNH without her. I fell in love with UNH, but as it would turn out, her dream school was not everything she had hoped for. So she transferred to UNH our sophomore year, and we moved into an off-campus apartment together, finally fulfilling one our longest standing childhood dreams of being able to live together.

But living together didn’t exactly turn out to be a dream-come-true. I guess I expected that it would be just like when we were kids––staying up late together, laughing and having a good time. Except now we didn’t have to live under our parent’s rules, which made life a hundred times better. But we weren’t nine anymore, we were nineteen––and after just a month of living together, we began to bicker about petty little things like doing the dishes or leaving stuff around the apartment. We had never been around each other for such an extended amount of time, and as the school year progressed, we grew more and more distant from each other instead of growing closer. Being together drove us apart. Despite the fact that we lived together, we rarely ever spent time together. Most of the time we both sat in our rooms alone, with the doors closed. All of the faults that I saw in my best friend suddenly became blown out of proportion in my perspective, and I wasn’t even sure if I liked who she was anymore. Our relationship felt like a pot of water on the stove that was due to boil over any second. For the three months of summer following our first year of living together, we rarely ever spoke a word to each other.

Despite our conflicts, we signed a lease for another apartment for the following school year. Maybe because neither of us had anyone else to live with, or because we were both trying to remain in denial about how badly our friendship had fallen apart. I felt vaguely heartbroken by how much our relationship had changed. For so many years, I was certain that no matter what changed over time, our friendship never would. But by the end of our second year of living together, it was obvious that the friendship we once had was almost completely irreparable. I can’t speak for how she felt about me, but I didn’t like who she was as a person anymore, and I was ready to have her out of my life. The friendship was fizzling out quietly for the most part, but not without some serious tension between us. We were both aware that it was happening, but never actually addressed it. Eventually, the whole thing ended in a massive fight that erupted early that summer.

What the fight was about doesn’t matter––it was big enough to put a nail in the coffin that held our twelve-year friendship.

We didn’t speak for months. I think I may have sent her a “good luck” text when she left to go study abroad in Barcelona the following semester. But the friendship was dead. We deleted each other off all forms of social media. I didn’t even wish her happy birthday when she turned 21 that fall.

It took an earth-shaking catastrophic event to reunite us. November 13th, 2015, ISIS attacked Paris at several different locations. At first, her safety didn’t even cross my mind. She was studying in Barcelona, not Paris. What are the odds that she would be in Paris that weekend?

What are the odds that she would be at that soccer game?

I found out by checking her Facebook the next morning. We hadn’t been friends on the social media site for months, but I just felt the need to check. I immediately burst into tears and sent her a message on every form of communication that I had at my disposal. She had been inside the stadium when the suicide bombers detonated their vests outside. It was the realization that something truly terrible had happened, and I could have lost her for real, forever, that changed everything for me.

Since she’s returned from studying abroad, our friendship has slowly healed. It is nothing like the relationship we had over a decade ago. I still don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to her house, and our moms will probably never casually chat over the phone again. We don’t talk every day, sometimes we don’t even talk once a week. Our time together has been limited to lunch or dinner dates once in a while. I don’t confide in her about absolutely everything anymore. I have new people in my life that I call my “best friend,” and I know that she does too. But she will always be my very first best friend, and I will always love her for that.

People change as they grow up––it’s naïve to think that your relationships won’t change too. My childhood best friend and I might never be as close or inseparable as we used to be, we might never spend another night building couch forts in her basement or gushing about our favorite movie stars. She isn’t the first person I turn to anymore when I fight with my boyfriend, or when something huge happens in my life. And yes, thinking about that makes me sad, because I will always miss how close we were. But we respect each other, and appreciate the love we have for each other now.

On the day we both graduated from UNH, we found each other in a sea of thousands of people and hugged and cried and smiled. And now, as the years pass, we’ll begin our respective careers, move away to different places, and maybe we’ll lose touch for a while. Things will never, ever be the same between us, but that’s okay. Because I’ve learned to accept that no matter how close you were as kids, people change a lot as they grow up and so do their relationships. For better or worse, you develop strengths and flaws, differences and habits. Your values change. Your focus shifts. You become almost an entirely new person. She and I will never go back to being inseparable pre-teens who depend on each other for absolutely everything. But no matter how much time passes, she will always hold a special place in my heart.

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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Finding Your Niche In College Starts With Finding You

Attempting to be someone you are not for the sake of having company only hurts you in the long run.

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Transitioning to college is hard enough, but trying to find a place where you feel "at home" can make this time even more stressful. Here are some tips on how to find that place/group of people that make you feel like sunshine.

I have always felt a little out of place wherever I went, but it wasn't until college that I realized that this feeling was so special and more people should capitalize on their differences rather than conforming to a certain mold. Transitioning to college and finding your place among so many people can be very overwhelming. The added stress of attempting to be someone you aren't for the sake of having company adds a whole other layer to this problem. The easiest thing for me to do in any situation like this is trying to make the setting a little smaller. One of the most obvious ways to do this on a college campus is by getting involved!

It is inevitable that within the first few weeks of the semester at any college, there will be an organization fair. This is a chance to scope out all that your school has to offer! Chances are there will be some type of group or club that lines up with your interests. Most college campuses have extracurricular opportunities ranging from social sororities and fraternities, professional ones, intermural sports, vocal groups, and so many more. You are more than likely going to find some type of organization that you can call home if you seek them out. Joining an organization is such an easy way to interact with people with similar interests. An interest can bring two completely different people together and create some beautiful friendships. It is situations like this where it is important to be your authentic self and mingle with those you share something with.

That being said, finding your place in college isn't always about being involved. Getting involved on campus is just one of the simplest ways to start. There are so many other opportunities on campus to meet people whether it be among others in your residence hall, people in your classes, or just people you find yourself stumbling upon! Finding people to spend your time with is easy; however, you should make it a point to surround yourself with people who bring you up.

Once you have a set group of people that you find yourself spending time with, it is important to pay attention to the way you feel when you're around them. If you find yourself feeling bad about yourself or get the impression that you need to change something in order to "fit in," chances are the people you're around are not the best for you or your self-esteem. It is important to surround yourself with people who allow you to feel comfortable in your own skin. That being said, you also want people who encourage you to make good decisions and help you reach your goals. People who encourage toxic behavior in your life might be fun in the short term, but in the grand scheme of things, you need to be surrounded by people with your best interest in mind. Essentially, surrounding yourself with people who influence you to be your best self is one of the best decisions you can make short and long term.

The key to all of this is being conscious of your own feelings and needs. Pay attention to who reaches out to you to hang out. Notice the ones who pay attention to you as you speak when it feels like no one is listening. More than anything, be conscious of who you're with and where you're at when you experience moments of pure happiness. Life is too short to waste your precious time on people who don't build you up. Wouldn't you rather spend your time with more moments of pure joy than self-hate? Start living for you!

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