Friendship is a beautiful thing. It is something that we can mostly all relate to and agree that life without it would be impossible. That is not to say every friendship is perfect. It’s like all relationships in life – they go through their good times and grow through their bad times. It isn’t always easy or enjoyable, but at the end of the day it’s vital. Without friendship, our lives would be increasingly lonely, women would never make decisions with no one to consult before and ultimately life would appear pretty dull. That’s the scary thing about friendship though; it is so important that it borders on dangerous. Am I being slightly dramatic? Probably. But as much as I love and appreciate the friends I have, its taken a strange ride to get to where we are. So today I’m going to tell you about friends I’ve loved and lost, and why placing so much worth on a person can lead to a devastating realization…
From when we are young we are already aware of friendships and friend groups. I think most people went through being excluded at some point in their younger lives. You remember – in the sandpit when everyone was playing with their own crew, you built up the courage to go and ask if you could join, and you were rejected with a stinging “you can’t play with us, there are only three people allowed in the game!”. Ouch. Who even came up with these rules at six years old?! It’s like the famous Mean Girls line: “YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US!” Harsh, unnecessary, and difficult to forget. Well, maybe the sandpit saga could be forgotten. I mean let’s be real, when you’re six you’re best friends with one person one day and then another the next. Life was simpler! But the general idea is sound.
Fast forward a few years later. Female friendships begin to properly blossom in high school. There’s something very special about female friendships - not that male ones are any less important. It’s probably just because I’m a girl and my friendships with other girls just seem precious because we’re on the same page (mostly) and experiencing the same things. It’s that ‘us sisters gotta stick together’ kind of thinking that makes me appreciate the ‘sisterhood’ more so. Generally, most of us find our “people” in high school. The ones we gel the best with, who bring out the best version of ourselves and who just seem to make life appear slightly less daunting and a lot more fun. These are the people you hold onto, because what is life without them? This is exactly what I thought too. To this day I still do! But people change, interests begin to differ, and what may have been a solid connection once, begins to weaken. And there’s nothing wrong with that – hey, it’s life. But it can hurt, and it can suck pretty bad too.
I’m not trying to create a horrible image of friendship for you! I’m not saying all friendships will fade or everyone will drift apart. No, not at all! From my perspective, friendship is never something to just give up on, not if you truly believe in that relationship. And in my experience, I did. What I came to find though was that you can in no way force something that wants to break. Sadly, sometimes there are situations that begin to wither on their own, without any warning given. If I’m being honest, I was always lucky enough to always have a really good group of friends. From the end of primary school, into the big, wide world of high school just across the road, I made the journey with a few girls who had grown to be “my people”. It seemed like a promising time, where nothing and no one could get in the way.
I suppose this is no different to the next person’s high school stories. It’s five years filled with friendships, friendship break ups, excitement, confusion, and bullying. Wait… Bullying? As sad as that sounds, it’s a tough reality to face, and quite a sick one too, that more people than you think would have experienced some form of bullying. But that’s a different topic, for now I’ll stick to the friendship scene. Although, when it becomes clear that things aren’t going as they used to among friends, or there is obvious unease between them, it can kind of begin feeling like both sides are trying to bully each other – into seeing things from the other’s perspective or into believing one thing over another. It can get quite messy. And that is one of the hardest things to come to terms with: once the mess is made, it’s extremely hard to put the pieces back together.
I’m speaking very generally because I think a lot of people will be able to relate, and there's more to it than just me. But the gist of it is that I lost friends. Friends who were nearly close enough to be family. Friends who I never thought in a million years would become strangers. Maybe there are instances where relationships like this can be saved – I’m sure there are. Friendships should be fought for! In my case though, I think it was too far gone to be fought for. The mess was too much, and the damage was done. And the realization that these people are no longer “your people” is a hard thing to come to terms with. Knowing that someone knew everything about you and was your confidant, your therapist, your sister, your mother, and your best friend all in one, that’s a difficult loss to go through.
Fast forward even a few more years and I am surrounded by amazing friends who I now call family. Experiencing friendship heartbreak can really change a person, especially if it’s friendships that you valued above and beyond. But in hindsight, I wouldn’t be the person I am today without going through something so horrible. I’ve learnt that the friends I have and continue to make are only going to better my life and push me to be the most ‘me’. I’m extremely lucky to be able to have the best friends that I do. Even though there’s no point in arguing who’s wrong or right, life will always lead you to the right place, with the right people. Sometimes, the people who you thought were “your people” aren’t actually. Maybe they’re just “your people for the time being” and you’re still going to find “your forever people”. There’s no point in saying that the friendships you lost are better off that way, because at a moment in time it was these friendships that carried you, grew with you and began to shape you. But as life goes, some things are meant to change. I’ve cried my tears definitely, and of course I often still think about these people I loved and lost, but I am happy now. And I’ve certainly found my forever people.
What are your thoughts on friendship?