When I look back on my friendships during high school, I can’t help but think about how my life would be now if I was still as close with every single person that I was close with during those 5 years. Would I have gone to uni, or dated the people I’ve dated, or made the life changes that I’ve made. It’s hard to say yes or no to these questions, as what people bring to the friendship tables changes drastically over time and whether or not that’s a positive thing is hard to tell.
Friends come in all shapes and sizes, but they should always feel right. I have my funny friends that make my tummy cramp with laughter, my serious friends that make me feel like I’ve just left a week-long therapy retreat, and my friends that feel more like family that anything else and that I would go back to day after day to talk about life with – through the really shitty shit, and the not so bad stuff that makes life what it is.
After high school, it’s too easy to cling onto this idea of a friendship group and force yourself into staying the same person you were through ages 12-18. Over the last year especially, I have really fine tuned my thoughts and feelings when it comes to friendships, as motives change and people become annoyed with your habits or get too comfortable stepping on your toes, or even too used to the idea of year 9 you, that when they start to notice that she isn’t there anymore, they find faults with the person she’s become. Not that changing as a person is a bad thing – but neither is resigning from a friendship because it no longer feels right. Making the decision to remove a person from your life who makes you feel self-conscious or awkward is okay! If someone makes you feel like you have to dress a certain way, or hold back your opinion then maybe life without them will allow you to express yourself however you want and make connections based on those opinions.
Friendships should be unconditional, and someone who truly loves you and values your friendship will never make you feel like a half person or an elephant in the room, they will tell you you’re a crazy control freak through a smile and acknowledge that is who you are, and they will let you speak your mind even if they don’t agree. If someone finds your faults and can’t accept them, then they were never a friend to begin with because it means that for however long you were close with that person, you were hiding a part of yourself that was big enough to scare them away when they found it.
I have a best friend of 10 years this year, who is like my sister. She lives on my road, and we can go weeks without talking and still know what is going on in each other lives and appreciate that we’re both busy and stressed but love each other just the same. A text can go un-replied to, and a phone call can be missed but the idea of this person has always been so constant through the last decade of my life, as she has always been the one person who I can fall back on after making a shitty decision, or a bad comment and not feel like I’ve got a strike against my name. We study completely different things and neither of us can fathom what the other one actually does, our families are different and our jobs are somewhat differentiated but we put each other on a pedestal because choosing someone to be your best friend is as important as choosing someone to be your life partner. I know who I’m going to have next to me on my wedding day, who the God Mother of my children will be and most importantly who will hold my hand through the scary stuff – as I will with her.
Friendships change, people change and you will change. But true, long-lasting soul mates will never make you feel incomplete or not good enough, or embarrassing. These are the people to hold on to as you descend into adulthood! High school friendships have shaped who you are to a point, they have shared birthdays and proms and graduations and have served you well during a major part of your life – but don’t feel bad if that’s where it ends. You can still think back and smile about those girls and guys that you had class with, and look back on old photos and cry with laughter at what the heck you were thinking on mufti day 2008, because ending friendships after high school doesn’t always have to be a negative thing, it makes more room for amazing people to come into your life through different avenues.
Some food for thought – I hope you enjoyed! xo