Growing up, you will come across many types of friendships that shape who you are. Some of them are forever, some of them are fleeting. All of them made an impact on who you are. Here are eight people you definitely encountered during your childhood.
1. Childhood Best Friend
Everyone has someone, or a small group of people, that they grew up with. Whether they tapped you on the shoulder in line for recess and said "we're best friends now" or you met them playing a rec sport in your community, kids find other kids to cling to and grow with. These people shaped you more than you realize because they were there with you from the very beginning. The parts of them you didn't like you swore you'd never follow, and the parts of them that you did you tried to weave into your own personality.
And if you're lucky enough, sometimes you find your way back. Sometimes you catch yourself on a bus to go visit them at college for the weekend and realize that all these years later, you helped each other become the best versions of yourselves from day one. And you also have some pretty great memories of the great games of pretend you used to play.
2. The Friend You Grow Out Of
No matter how much you promise someone that you will be "Best Friends Forever!" there will always be some people you grow out of. There is no need to feel guilty for this. You are allowed to change and find the version of you that you like the best, and sometimes not everyone wants to learn to love the new version. You need to constantly test your limits and expand and challenge yourself and if your friend doesn't understand why you want to, it just means they are a part of the past you have left behind.
Of course, they will always have a special place in your heart and of course you wish you could've taken him or her with you, but you can't force anyone somewhere they don't want to be. So call them up every once in a while or catch a movie. Appreciate that they were a big part of you, but accept that you grew in two different directions and no one could've stopped it.
3. The Support Group
These are the friends that you found because of a common situation you both endured. Maybe you're looking for someone to lean on for support or you're trying to make it a little easier for people experiencing the same thing you did, a connection forms fast. These are some of the most powerful because they are rooted in emotion.
Some of the biggest fights you will have come from here because you are so similar, but some of the best, most true connected moments come from these people too. Maybe they won't last forever when one person feels they don't need the other anymore. But maybe it will always be there because you've shared so much that there's no going back.
4. Polar Opposite Surprise
When you are least looking for a friendship is when you can get struck by forming a connection with your complete opposite. Someone you never thought you would even engage in small talk with steps into your life and teaches you a lot about the life you're not living. It shows you who you aren't and opens your eyes to how similar everyone is at the core.
Not many people will understand what's even there that keeps the friendship going, and sometimes you won't even understand. But the lack of expectation makes it a comfortable and safe space to challenge who you are.
5. The One You Love
You will one, if not a few people, who transforms from someone you care about to someone you love. It usually happens quietly. You go from laughing and making jokes to having late night what-does-life-look-like-after-death talks and suddenly these people will become the best parts of you. Many of the strongest relationships are secure because there was a grounded friendship underneath it. It will never be a crime to love the people in your life, even if you start loving more than you expected.
6. Friendships of Convenience
Easily, the shakiest friendships. In a new environment, it's easy to take the first person you find and latch onto them for security so you aren't the last one trying to figure your life out. Sometimes, the people you find can turn into lifelong friends, if you're lucky. Other times, they end so quickly that you feel as though you have nothing left. When it was a friendship out of convenience, when someone benefited short-term from being friends with you, they don't care how they leave you. It hurts, but in hindsight, you learn what the warning signs look like, and you learn you deserve so much better.
7. When You Have Nothing Left
There are people that come into your life when you have no one. There are friendships you form when your view of reality has been turned upside down and you feel like you won't find people who care about you again. I have found that these grow into some of the strongest friendships. You pick them carefully after getting burned once. You devote so much energy to them because cultivating it is your main focus. And one day, the friendships you form from level 0 are the most meaningful. They gave your life light again. They saw you at your weakest points. These are special. These are life-changing.
In the beginning, family may be nowhere near this list. While you're growing up, your family sees the worst parts of you. They see you being selfish and throwing fits and know everything about you and your past. However, with time and distance, family has a weird way of coming together. It might be a cousin you've always been fond of or your brother you swore you hated with every ounce of your being when you were fighting over the last chicken nugget at dinner twelve years ago.
Either way, if you are lucky enough to find friends in family, they endure the most because they've been there since before day one, and they've already seen it all. Nothing can phase them anymore. You keep a little bit of home in each other until they become home entirely.
As most eloquently put in "For Good" from Wicked, arguably one of the most emotion musical theater songs to grace the stage, "who can say if I've been changed for the better, but because I knew you, I have been changed for good." Everyone in your life teaches you a lesson and helps you grow. Welcome them in with open arms, even if they can't stay awhile.