To My Former and Future Homies:
As we age, we become wiser, more thoughtful, and more aware of the ways of the world. This new knowledge in adulthood ranges from how to safely get back to your car on the late night to recipes that take more than twenty minutes and can be shared over mid-grade bottles of wine. The sad thing is that as we age we become more disposable to people and the word “friend” becomes a burden we not only bare, but are scared to dole out to too many people.
When I was in high school I made the mistake of calling everyone my friend and I paid the price for it in rumors, whispers, humiliation, and anonymos phone calls. In college, I played it a little closer to the chest and had different levels of friendship with different people. Not everyone was my friend but I truly tried to get to know as many people as I could. As I enter adulthood, it becomes harder to maintain certain relationships and I am forced to make choices I’ve never had to make before. Do I continue to widen my social circle or do I start cutting people off? What does friendship REALLY mean and is it really important?
The answer becomes more complicated when one takes into account that we are complex beings, others are complex beings, and as life shifts so do our priorities and beliefs. Then we must take into account the different spaces we fit into and how our lives become more compartmentalized. Suddenly. there is a time and place for everything and unlike the days of our teens and early 20’s life does not blend together quite easily. Everyone we know and love is on a completely different page and we are forced to draw boundaries where there were once open arms. New people come into our lives that match ourselves more closely and our priority becomes ourselves and those people who make ourselves feel good and feel whole.
There are our work friends who we gossip with about office drama over pho at lunch and drinks at happy hour. We share what we wish with these people at the risk of our professional reputations with an unspoken understanding that what happens at those tables is supposed to STAY at those tables. Whether it really does is dependent upon who you invite.
There are our friends from childhood who are spread out across the country and whenever we are all together it feels like home even if we aren’t home. These are the friends that we swap stories of our youth with over bottomless mimosas at rooftop parties. These are the friends who you can be your complete self around because they will love you no matter who you date, what you believe in, and how you spend your free time. These are the friends who will be in your wedding, call you up to congratulate you on your promotions, and who always have your back when the rest of the world doesn’t give a damn who you are. These friends are the most valuable because they have become your family and are irreplaceable.
Our college friends are also spread out like our high school friends, but these relationships become the most complex to navigate. Now that we no longer can see each other so easily because we’re not a dorm away and have way less free time, it becomes a true test of communication as we play phone tag for weeks, exchange drunk texts and Facebook chats, and eventually have two hour conversations a few times a year. As time goes on the phone calls come fewer and farther between as we develop into our adulthood. Unlike our friends from high school, unless we are fairly similar, it becomes extremely difficult to see the worth in putting in the effort to maintain these friendships because we do not have the history between us to really know if these friendships are sustainable. These relationships are the most disposable and the most heartbreaking to lose.
One takes for granted the ease of making true friends when we’re young. As we age we become bias, bitter, self-centered, and distant towards those who have supported us. We become stubborn and set in our ways. We become judgmental and snarky at the choices our former friends make as we move into the circles we “fit in” and climb the social ladder. Like the people in “Divergent” we take the test of survival and get sorted into different atmospheres that we “belong” in. And just like that, people who you once shared your last dime with become strangers whose Instagram or Facebook page is the only indication you have of how they’re doing.
They say people enter your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. So to all the “reasons” and “seasons” I’ve met these past few years I truly wish you the best in your future endeavors. I think I’m gonna take the rest of my lifetime to maintain and make friendships that do not die with a graduation, a new partner, a new location, or differing belief.
Your Former Friend