With Best Friend's Day recently occurring, I felt the need to reflect on all the relationships I've had with friends. Even though my best friend seems to change with the seasons, I appreciate the lifelong lessons each one has taught me. The more people I meet, the more I am impacted. I understand how diverse we are, and why some friendships don't need to last forever.
I see people posting tributes to their best friend of 10 years now, and I realize I've never had a best friend for that duration of time. Even though my friendships in the past have been short-seasoned, I'm OK with it because they brought me to the great friends I have today. I haven't known my current best friends for very long, but I don't consider time an element in determining a meaningful friendship.
Growing up, I was always the odd one out. Entering middle school, all the girls who I thought were my best friends, started to hit puberty and I was far behind them. They resembled teenagers and I was still wearing tank tops rather than a training bra. As a result of my late blooming and looking different than everyone else, I was subject to being bullied. I don't blame them...I was an easy target. All I wanted were friends and I let people pick on me to gain their friendship.
When I got to high school, becoming popular was my main goal. After being picked on for so long, I was desperate to fit in. Because of my desperation, I conformed. For the first half of my freshman year, I didn't have great friends. I didn't have one special person to confide in or have pillow fights with. My friends were surface level.
By the end of my freshman year, I finally found one person who was a compatible best friend for me. We were the dynamic duo, and much to my surprise, we were best friends for three years. From an outsider's perspective, one would assume that we never fought, and someday we would be crinkled old ladies still laughing about things that happened to us when were 15. That was not the case. By the end of our junior year, we grew apart, and I'm really not sure how or why. At the time of our terminating fight, I was devastated. I was offended and wished I had an answer.
Senior year, another best friend came out of the woodwork. We were goofballs...there is no other word to describe us. We laughed together, we cried together, and sometimes those tears were a product of laughing. But, as I should've expected, this friendship didn't last after high school. When I look back at pictures of our silly endeavors, I get a good laugh. I feel lucky rather than sorry or sad because I got to spend senior year laughing.
Now that I am in college, I have had many groups of friends that I felt to close to, but later realized we weren't really a good combination of people destined for best friendhood. Last year, every friend I made at the beginning of college was no longer close to me when freshman year ended.
Being on a clearer path to my future has given me the ability to determine what qualities I desire in relationships with friends, and sometimes that means cutting people out who no longer fit on my path.
We change as individuals. Our values might become stronger. Our interests develop into careers. We start to experiment with romance. As we start to change as individuals, our friendships might change too. It's natural to grow apart from people who were once the closest to you and it's important to keep the friends who support you 100%.I would do anything for my best friends, and I expect nothing less in return. A friendship should never be a one-way street, filled with jealousy and gossip. As soon as I start to feel like a friendship is turning toxic, I re-evaluate it.
In the past, I was relentless in trying to fix broken friendships. I would fight, and cry and question everything. At this point in my life, when a friendship ends, I accept it.
Today, I have many different best friends that I found in different places. Each friendship I maintain serves a unique purpose. I don't always agree with my friends, but they help me keep my head on straight. They congratulate me when something goes well in my life.They laugh at my stupid jokes and wipe my tears when I cry.
Although I have not had a best friend for the duration of 10 years yet, I expect the friends I have now are in it for the long haul. Every lost friendship has brought me to them, and I am forever grateful.