Years and years ago, a friend asked how someone we both knew was going.
‘No idea, haven’t seen them in years.’
‘That’s a shame, you guys were like best friends.’
I’d forgotten about this half of the conversation, so when I remembered in this morning I put it will the collection of utter confusion that is best friendship.
The most confusing thing about friendships is when everything changes. Sometimes it’s impossible to hang on to people you care most about. Call it damage control, or being a selfish princess bitchface, but some friendships just don’t stand the test of time. And, fortunately, other friendships fade because you move away, or you don’t see each other anymore or you hate their new love interest (or, their new love interest hates you).
What I’ve discovered is that you can pick some friendships off right where you left them. Is it the sheer amount of time you’ve spent together, the connection you have or the meaningful shared experiences?
Who the hell knows.
What I do know is that when I’ve met people who have really became my best friends, I have almost always connected with them straight away.
On the other hand, people who are most supportive and caring are not people I have had an instant connection with.
I’ve looked at letters online, written from one girl to another about how losing their friendship has hurt them. For me, I have ended friendships which have been toxic, but more often than not we have just drifted and that’s okay too.
BFFs were the bane of my existence during school. I didn’t have cousins who I knew and could talk to. Everyone else seemed to know each other since they were babies. I watched girls I knew squabble over who was more entitled to the BFF friendships. I felt left out.
Of course, my story goes that I found my group of friends well into term three, well, we found each other, and that was that. I had the same group of friends through high school (give or take), and each of them had qualities that encouraged me, supported me or made me think about life.
I also had a best friend outside of school, and even though we liked the same pop culture stuff, we were never able to move on to the next level of conversation. The serious stuff. I ended that friendship badly, but no regrets.
During my gap year I was really lonely, and then I moved to Adelaide where I did a course in life and ministry skills. I met my best friend the first day (she claimed she would always be late to everything which wasn’t a lie), and weirdly our social group was the nerdy guys who I declared I did not want to be friends with. I wanted to hang out with the cool guys, damn it. (I don’t know why, probably because a pastor had sent me to Bible Colllege with the joke that it should actually be called Bridal College.) Give or take a few people, my core group of friends from that year have stayed my core group of friends. They picked me up after a relationship went sour (after I didn’t see much of them for about a year), and now we have celebrated the big stuff — weddings, cats, book launches, babies and everything else in between.
That leads me back to the conversation though.
You guys used to be best friends.
It’s a two way street. The answers are complicated. I don’t even know half of them myself.
That’s a shame.
But, is it really? Things end for a reason, most of the time, even friendship. Starting over again means discarding people you love. Choosing to leave someone behind can be the hardest thing in the world, but it can also be the easiest. You don’t know what you got til it’s gone; but also, you don’t know that you can live without it until you have to. Often best friends help you be a better person, but they can also bring out sides to you which you don’t need in your life. They are a huge influence, but they can be a hindrance too. If you best friend doesn’t like someone, chances are you’ll take their side. If you best friend is excessively bitchy, you can start acting this way too.
I flipped through a book I had. It’s a friends profile book, and the second entry is by someone I don’t know anymore, and haven’t for years. As I read stuff they’ve written, I questioned how I could let someone like that into my life. Someone who was almost always negative and bitchy and generally hated people. Even if you take out the infatuation excuse out of the equation (LUV is blind), it made me think that maybe I chose the wrong people to invest time in.
But, then again, maybe not.
I mean, more than half a life time ago I climbed down into a crater lake with this person and a bunch of his friends. It was about 9pm, it was dark, we had two torches. We were mucking around when we heard a gun shot. And then another one. We scrambled back up the side of the crater (and I twisted my ankle a little), piled into two cars and spent the rest of the night scaring the crap out of each other. It was stupid and fun, and totally worth it. Everything balances itself out eventually, and by time our friendship ended a few months later, I was a different person. It took me a long time to stop being negative and nasty, but it took an even longer time to stop wishing I could have those crazy days back again.
Nothing is forever, but maybe sometimes best friendship are.
And, as you’ve just heard, sometimes they’re best left where they wee last seen.