An Open Letter To Every Friend I've Ever Encountered In My Lifetime

An Open Letter To Every Friend I've Ever Encountered In My Lifetime

Thank you all for making me who I am

To the friends who I grew up with

I cherish every friend I have been lucky to have; however, I have a big place in my heart for the ones I grew up with. You people are the ones who taught me everything and made me into everything that my parents didn’t. Good or bad, I am thankful for that. My childhood was amazing because of the people beside me who grow with me. You were the people I went through every year of grade school with. We went from nap time together to snack time to our girl time that really meant “Let’s talk about cute boys time.” You are the friends who were probably the truest or realest friends I have ever had, because back when we were so close I never had to worry about how I looked what I said or did. Trust me these were the most embarrassing times of my life (there are photos to prove this) but it didn’t matter because we were young and we were all weird and embarrassing. We thought we were the funniest people alive and thought each and every one of us would remain friends for a lifetime or at least be each other’s bridesmaids. I just want to say thank you for teaching me what it’s like to have true friends, good times and giving me amazing memories. You taught me what it’s like to have an all-nighter sleepover, that I am the wild friend and how to be myself. You guys are truly going to stay in my heart forever even if we have been apart for years now. You will be the ones I tell my kids the best stories about. And for what it’s worth our pretend wedding in my basement in 5th grade allowed us all to be at one of our weddings together, which really was a dream come true even if we were 15 years too early.

To the friend who isn’t always around but will always be there for me in some way

There are so many of you and that makes me so happy to say because we never let our friendships die. No matter how far or long you are away we always able to pick things up right where we’ve left off. I appreciate you so much because I know both of our lives get tough and we get caught up in it and can’t always find the time to hang out or even communicate with, but when we do it is the best catch up and we always end up feeling better and refreshed. We can talk for hours over Facetime and our stories go into crazy over time with maybe too many details but the best part is you always are able to interrupt me and give me your two cents on the topic. I love that I am able to trust you with everything I tell you. Even though you aren’t always the first person I run to vent or for advice know I still appreciate each and every bit you can give me because you are a great and valued friend.

To the friend who always got me in trouble

I don’t know if the trouble you got me into with my parents was worth the crazy things I got into with you, but you’ve sure given me some awesome stories. I don’t even know how you’ve learned or how your brain is wired but it’s wired in a way that even made me, a little innocent girl, become rebellious. I used to think you were the coolest person I knew and in fact wanted to be just like you. You were and still are so laid back, easy going and everyone seems to like you as a person. Although you did seem to have a sort of side effect it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt, or at least that’s what my parents would say. You never hurt me, however I would get into situations where I knew I was being dumb, but hey I didn’t care I was doing what a cool kid would do and I had fun while doing it (sorry mom and dad). There was the time I got my phone taken away for weeks because I videotaped a kid hitting a paper airplane smack dab into our substitute teacher’s face, all because you told me to. I served detention for a week because of this but I thought it was totally worth it. Thanks for sprucing up my middle school record and making me a total bad ass when I wanted a little rebellion in my life, maybe now one day my children won’t think I was a lame kid when I tell them all about being the class president. And now even though we’re not friends I see some of myself in you, the sweet friendly girl and you in me, the wild side. Thanks for letting me live life on edge.

To the friend who grew to be different than me

I’ve had many friends but never one who made me question so much as you did. We had lots of common interest and lots of common talents and that is so great that we could share these things but a lot of the times I felt like we weren’t quite on the same path. I want to let you know I was challenged by this for a while, I thought I myself had to try harder to understand where you were coming from or for you to notice there was a difference between us. I want to let you know I was always 100% honest with you because even if we didn’t always see eye to eye I could never hurt a friend. It wasn’t that I necessarily wanted our friendship to end but I think we both grew into a state of mind where we knew there was a place and a time when our friendship was great but we just weren’t feeling it any longer and that’s okay. We’ve had some arguments but we never lost respect for each other and we ended on a graceful note which deserves a high five for being teenage girls. I want to let you know that we’ve had some great times and I’m happy with the paths we decided to take even though they were different. I’m happy for you and I know there was a reason you were in my life.

To the friend I met and clicked with right away

You are so like me and I love you for that. Just kidding I love you for so many different reasons and we love most of the same things to which gives us so much to talk about and makes it so easy. Speaking of, our relationship is easy, you just get me, I get you and we don’t have to worry about pointless arguments because we know what triggers each other. Right when I met you I knew we would be great if not the best of friends. You have me saying the same phrases you say and sometimes I even catch myself doing it. When others are around us they notice it too. The find us annoying because we’re so much alike but we find them annoying because they are so different than us. I know you will be my friend for a long time because we already know everything we both like and agree on it and if we don’t agree it doesn’t stop us. I don’t think anything will stop us not even our husbands or our crying babies whom of both will be best friends too. Thanks for being so much like me and clicking right into my lifestyle.

To my ex best friend who I wish was still close to me

This is hard to write and still hard to fathom the distance that has grown us so much apart. We used to be two peas in a pod, for a long long time and what I thought was a never-ending time. Our parents rooted for us because they’re best friends just like you and I once were. But others were not rooting for us, because we were the annoying friends. The overly obsessed are they even their own person type of friendship. People looked at me and they were looking at you too. We did the most ridiculous things together but I mean ridiculous in all the good ways. Never have I ever been able to be so myself with any other person before. You were practically my sister and your family was my second family, I miss them so much and wish our separate ways didn’t put a fork in the road for all our relationships. I have to thank you for teaching me a lot especially towards the end. You became kind of a bitter person in the situation we ended up in and instead me sinking to be like you once again I had for once found a big part of myself that had been missing. Without your friendship, I have learned a lot especially how to be an individual in which I will still thank you for. Other than that, you’ve taught me how to laugh when I didn’t think I could, how to choose a girl’s night being the best option over anything else and how to have a friend that feels like family. It’s sad that our friendship ended but people move on in life and I have accepted that. Maybe we’re too much alike or maybe we’ve grown to be too different, regardless I’ll have nothing but good things to say about you and hope one day our paths will cross again.

To my main clique I have now

If there is any group of friends on this earth that resembles the sex and the city friend group it is us. We have the perfect combination of the sassy friends, the sweet motherly friends, the wild friends and the professional mature friends. All together we definitely have our fair share of gossip and opinions we throw at each other but it always ends up being used in all the right ways. Sometimes we gang up on each other and dangle embarrassing stories over one another’s heads, but it’s all just for our own laughs. There’s nothing quite like you people I have ever come across anywhere else in my lifetime. Sometimes we have trouble finding a time for all of us to get together but that just makes our time together even more precious. Right now, it’s college and jobs separating us but we’ll find our way to catch up on breakfast dates. Years from now we’ll be doing the same only it will be babies and careers and we’ll meet up at the bars. I know now because we have been able to handle all of us being in separate moments in life like high school and college, that we will be able to make it through any kind of distance and amount of time apart. You will always be my cup of tea and will be exactly what I need to feel like I am at home. I can’t wait to continue our little traditions together like having spaghetti and pear lemonade dates and going up north for the summer. Never have I ever found a group so different who fit together so well, and never will I ever let go.

The friend who is actually family, my sister

You're the one friend that no matter what I can't get rid of. Sure, some people aren't as close with their siblings but why wouldn't you be? You were the person who I knew I had as a friend from the get go all the way to the grave. I knew that no matter where I was I would always have a friend because anywhere I would go mom and dad would drag you along with me. You were my friend when I thought I didn't have anyone else you even let me hang out with your older cooler friends when I didn't want to be with mine. You were the friend who would let me raid your closet any day, well actually "let" is a loose word for me to raid without your permission. You were the friend who I would and always will look up to because I think you're awesome; you are my role model. You're the friend that no matter what allows me to say we're best friends forever. You're guaranteed the position of my maid of honor, the aunt of my children (the blood related kind of aunt) and the whatever else you want to be because I won't get rid of you ever. And since we've been so close I think it's safe to say that in this point in life you won't get rid of me either. I could never thank you enough for everything that you have taught you throughout my nineteen years of life, and I'm still learning, still looking up to you and I always will. Thanks for being you, but more importantly thanks for being my best friend.

Cover Image Credit: Sierra Gardner

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You Will Always Need Your Grandma

They Are Some Of The Greatest Human Beings You Will Ever Know

Always is no exaggeration, you'll always need your grandma.

"A grandmother is a remarkable woman. She's a wonderful combination of warmth and kindness, laughter and love. She overlooks our faults, encourages our dreams, and praises our every success."- Author Unknown

They Are Your Biggest Fans:

Maybe even beating out your parents for that title...grandmas are truly your number one fans. From tennis matches, to softball and volleyball games, to the countless dance recitals and competitions, it always made my heart smile to look out from the stage or the court and see my grandma sitting there. She didn't have to be there sitting on uncomfortable bleachers, she wanted to be, and it always meant the world to me; even if I didn't express it at the time.

They Are The Greatest Porch Swing Companions:

One of my favorite and greatest memories of growing up is sitting on the front porch swing with my grandma. From the time when my feet didn't quite touch the ground sitting in the swing and hers did, to my feet touching the ground and her legs getting just a little bit shorter. All of the years in between provided some of the best advice, and were some of the many moments I wish that I could have recorded. There were less hours on the swing as I got older and busier, but I always know exactly where to go if I ever need to. Moving away for college, I realize just how much I miss being eight or nine sitting on the front porch swinging and talking for hours.

The Wisdom:

Only one of the many many things they have to offer you. They are full of so many stories, life lessons, and possible answers to your problems. You learn to appreciate the wisdom more and more as you get older. You realize that just as you are getting older, they are too. I recently bought a journal called My Grandma In Her Own Words. Inside the pages are questions to ask your grandma such as, "What is your earliest childhood memory?" I can't wait to spend the whole summer filling it.

Are They Not The Cutest:

I say this at least twice a week...she is the cutest human being alive. Their style, to the fabulous music they listen to, to everything in between. My grandma walked at least 16 miles in Washington D.C. in loafers and the cutest vest/scarf combo I've ever seen... that woman, let me tell ya. On a serious note, whenever I'm told I look a little bit like my grandma, I LOVE it. I take pride in the fact that someone sees a little bit of her in me, because she is gorgeous.

You Have No Idea How To Live Without Them:

Quite simply, they are one of the most influential women in your life. From being little, to being a newly minted adult, I still call my grandma almost everyday; sometimes just to hear her voice. They are some of the greatest human beings you will ever know. They make you a better person, all while showing you an unconditional love that only they can.

All the love in the world for you, sweet woman.

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An Open Letter To My "Team"

A week I'll never forget.

Last week, I had the amazing opportunity of going on a Service and Justice Experience spring break trip to Marion County, South Carolina. Since returning, I've been trying to pinpoint what I've learned, trying to find a particular moment or teaching that resonated with me, but I've found that I can't. There are no words to describe all that happened last week, so instead I've chosen to write this article as an ode to all that I encountered and felt in my seven days in Marion County.

It's been less than a week since we journeyed back to campus and I'm missing Marion already.

Whenever I see one of the people I traveled with around campus, I can't help but light up and smile, and I think it's because something magical happened last week. It had to be the combination of the beautiful community we were exposed to in Marion, the service with Habitat for Humanity, we were able to do, and of course, the people we served alongside with.

When people ask me how my trip was, the first word that comes to mind is "fun", but I don't think that word really does the trip, or everyone there, any justice.

Yes, the trip was fun, but it was also thought provoking, full of fits of laughter and moments of determination and hard work, and so much more.

Team, thank you to every single one of you for making the trip what it was. In one of the notecards that someone wrote for me, they commented on how the trip would not have been the same without me being there. As cliché as it sounds, I believe this to be true- we all come from different backgrounds with our own idiosyncrasies and character traits.

I truly feel that if even one person had been missing, the group dynamic, and thus experience as a whole, would have shifted.

I think what really stood out to me was the amount of love that surrounded all of us in everything we did. When Morgan asked us during reflection one night, Where did you see love today? I found myself with countless examples, from the patience of master nailers with us newbies, to the countless times a friend braided my hair for me, to a simple check in of "how are you doing" at any given moment.

Love and the sense of community were at the forefront of everything we did last week, especially when working on the house or connecting with the people in Marion.

Thank you all for helping solidify my belief that every action in life can be traced back to love.

I felt the love everywhere we went and through everything we did. However, what I found even more beautiful was how, when taking a step back, I was able to observe the love around me. As I spoke about during reflection one night, there was a moment where I was lying on the grass, separate from everyone else, watching you all play Frisbee.

While this situation may sounds trivial and mundane, I think the impact this moment had on me speaks to the gratitude this trip formed in me for the little moments.

It was the way that you all were interacting with each other. Closing my eyes, I heard nothing but laughter and cheering and words of encouragement. All you were doing was throwing around a Frisbee, yet I could find so much of God's love in that moment.

You all have a special place in my heart, and I only hope we continue to grow as a team.

Here's to morning devotionals, Max's daily lessons and coordinated Coke commercials. Here's to 6:15 wake up songs (Final Countdown anyone?), 12 am What Do You Meme? games (because pizza, of course) and the sardine round that took half a century. Here's to surprise birthday cake(s), handprints on walls, walls being painted and walls being raised. Most of all, here's to ridiculous stories, laughter, moments of reflection, vulnerability, and tears, and everything in between.

Thank you all for bringing your whole self to this trip, for sharing, and as a result, for teaching me a great deal about what it means to live in community and to build not only a home, but a second family.

Here's to you, here's to us, team.

Good deal,


Cover Image Credit: Samantha DeCarlo

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