In the last six months, many relationships will have been redefined with the change in lifestyle and an “enemy” which we all want defeated somehow. The one relationship which I’ve been thinking a lot about is friendship. I’ve realised how important it is to have good friends. Friends who are with you in true spirit when you are going through something – good or bad. Friends who are never backward in being honest no matter what, who lift you up when you really need it and show you, you. These friends are literally a Godsend. I feel like I cherish these friendships all the time but not being able to see some friends face-to-face has, for me, only enlightened and tightened the bond… and make me bloody well miss seeing people!
The friendships that have surprised me in these months, however, have given me a really important lesson. The ones who pop up every now and then, the ones who never check in, the ones who are caught up in themselves… I know how this sounds. It sounds like I have expectations. In all honesty, I admit I do. With some relationships, there are expectations and I think many people will identify with that – even sub-consciously. I’m not saying that’s right but it’s something that almost all of us do.
In the last few years, I’ve understood the way I am and what I want… from everything. And I really don’t agree with friends who expect that you confide in them when they’re hardly around. I don’t agree with friends who believe they are going through something and that you should be there for them without them being around for you when you need it most. However, mostly, I just don’t agree with friends who can’t see outside their own mental bubble. Having said this, I fully accept that this year has been a difficult one in general for us all. I understand upto a point that it has been much more difficult for some than others. But how does one friend, who isn’t in touch, know how difficult it’s been for another friend? The answer? They don’t. The solution? Well, unfortunately, it’s not “one size fits all”.
Personally, I’ve become rather selfish about friendships and, more generally, with time. I know the kind of friend I am. I therefore fully expect some sort of effort. And if you’re not making this effort or not checking in with me or are just showing that you don’t care, or that what you are dealing with is somehow “more important” than whatever is happening in my life… then I’m re-thinking your place in my life. Noone deserves a half-baked “close” friend. Everyone is going through something or another. Just because you can’t see a struggle, doesn’t mean it’s not there.
So, I’ve decided that friends fall away – much like leaves fall away from trees – and that’s OK. It’s very often not a reflection of you but of “life” getting in the way. However, it’s easy to get caught up in making excuses for people you care about, because let’s face it, the caring doesn’t stop overnight even if a friendship might. The moment you catch yourself doing that, stop. Don’t make excuses. Just let it be.
The most important thing is that, no matter how much one might regret a friendship turning sour or fading away, we have to respect ourselves. People who care make an effort, even if it’s not constant. People who care get caught up in their own lives but also show in some way that they are still there. People who care always make space for those they care about, in some way, at some point. There are no two ways about this. No half hearts.
Respect yourself enough to not be treated like you are an option. Respect yourself enough to make sure you stop if you feel it continuously being one-sided. Respect yourself enough to move on, knowing you put in your best, especially if you’re not getting much back.
Friends fall away… and that’s OK. But never forget that the one person who always stays with you is you.