Friendships are one of the most complex and delicate things that humans experience throughout their life. Yet they can end up being more emotional and heartbreaking than a romantic relationship (in my opinion). One of my closest friends phrased it perfectly: When you become friends with someone, you don’t have any thought in the back of your head that you won’t continue being friends forever. When you get into a relationship, you know there is always a possibility that it won’t last.
So many things end a friendship. Toxicity, betrayal, changing as people, distance etc. But when it ends, especially a close, emotional friendship, it can hurt for longer and harder than a significant other. I noticed, recently, when I had a friendship end, I felt a pain that I could not stand. It was and has been ten thousand times more emotional and excruciating to separate from that friend, then any break up I have ever been through. Being on social media gets harder and watching movies and shows that you used to watch together, affects you more.
This post isn’t to “name-and-shame” or speak about specific friendships that I’ve experienced but it’s to just discuss the feelings of struggle I’ve had when it comes to sustaining a friendship. I’ve always moved around throughout my childhood, so I found myself having to make new friends every couple of years. I was never blessed with that “childhood friend” that everyone tells me about where they’d either to go to the park together or run round to each others houses every day. I yearn for it sometimes.
That’s not to say I haven’t had crucial friends in my life. I can think of multiple people off the top of my head that I, still to this day, cherish and fondly remember but have lost contact with or never stayed in touch with in the first place. I think the problem I always fail to understand, is that people have different requirements when it comes to maintaining friendships. Some of my friends require constant communication whereas my other friends are content with touching base every couple of weeks/months and meeting up when we can. Everyone is different.
As the years have gone by I’ve become a lot more flexible and understanding with friendships. It’s a give and take process. The toxicity enters when there is one person doing all the giving with no take. We’ve all been there and it’s always hard. You love and care for a friend to the point that you think you don’t care about the way they are treating you. Suddenly one day, there comes that point you are left in a position where they have done something you can’t accept or forgive anymore. I have always been the worst when it comes to the ending of a friendship. When I feel ultimately betrayed, hurt and/or (at times) “stabbed in the back,” with no reconciliation possible, I shut off. I just don’t try anymore. I consider that the end and distance myself for good.
But that being said, I’m also a person who will always care about my friends; whether we have separated or are still going strong. Because, when you have something good, it can be the most beautiful relationship in the world. That emotive support that you give each other is beneficial not only to your wellbeing but to your experience in your everyday life. It’s just a mutual understanding that sometimes you need a friend to come over with a bottle of wine to sit on a sofa watching a Netflix series. Or a friend to pick you up when your heart has been broken. Or a friend to tell you, you look beautiful when you feel at your lowest.
Friendship is one of the most beautiful and complex things that we as humans have to experience. I view it like a plant. You need to nourish and water it to keep it healthy and alive. If you forget about it or feed it the wrong things and leave it on the side, promising yourself every day you will go back to it the next day, it will die.