Temporary Friends

I knew this girl in high school who I considered a close friend at the time. We had shared interests, and we were always joking around when we had a class together. A mutual friend, though, described this girl as someone who would be your best friend but only when it was convenient for her. So as soon as that class ended and extra effort had to be made to interact, she’d drop you and move on to whoever was next. This wasn’t an inaccurate description of the friendship, and for a while I was mad that I let myself be played like that.

Best Wow Ok Lee Howon GIFs | Gfycat

But, to some extent, don’t we all do this? Like, sure, could she have put in more effort to maintain friendships outside of class? Could she have maybe been less chummy while we were together, especially if she thought of me as disposable? Maybe. But looking back, I think she was just making the most of the situations she was in, and it’s perhaps partly on me to not get so attached.

In a perfect world, we carry the friends we make throughout our whole lives. We grow together and give each other what we need and never let each other down. But this is not a perfect world. We change, we lose friends, we make friends, we adjust, we figure ourselves out. It’s how life is. I’ve realized that I’m perhaps more needy in terms of my friendships. I would love for the people I care about to want to be with me as much as I want to be with them. I would love for them to make me a priority and really go out of their way to show that. Unfortunately, this is not realistic and not my reality with most people, and I accept this, though it does mean I’ve had to think hard about my friendships.

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Between school friends, childhood friends, internet friends, coworkers, and whoever else, it’s impossible for every nice friendship you ever have to last decades and be consistently strong. It’s not a personal attack when things fade or end. Because in a lot of cases, we’re all just making the most of our lives in that moment. If a sucky summer job can be made better by a goofy coworker, then hell yeah! If a school project can be made better by a competent partner you bond with, then way to go! We should appreciate what these people bring at that time without worrying about what it’ll be like in five years. We should learn from them, take the good aspects, and carry it with us into the future. It doesn’t mean that either party is a bad friend. And we should be able to look back with fondness at that time and remember those people not as ex-friends who abandoned us or played us, but as people we connected with once and now wish well.

There are people in my life now who I doubt I’ll still have contact with in 10 years. Because of a temporary situation or just changing styles, I know it’s likely that eventually we won’t have time or a desire to interact as much or at all, and there probably won’t be a dramatic and conclusive ending to the friendship. Of course this makes me sad, but rather than being pre-upset over this, I’m trying to make the most of this time and enjoy these bonds I’ve made for now. Who cares if we’re all just each other’s temporary friends? Life is full of them, and I want to be remembered as a good one.

Accept It GIFs | Tenor

I think temporary friends is a concept that should be more normalized. I’m not saying you shouldn’t put in an effort to maintain friendships with the people you care about (because you definitely should, and I know I can work on this too), but the idea that people can be in your life for a short time without hurt feelings should be okay. I’m prone to feeling like I’m the problem common denominator in many failed or weak friendships, but maybe those people were never meant to be in my life long term. They were always just meant to get me through that time in a nice way, and that’s okay.

As Glinda and Elphaba said, “because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”

 

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Defining Friendships Today

Here I go again, blogging about friendships. I promise I’m not here this time to have a moan, and I will try to keep things somewhat positive. I just want to have a discussion. As I think a lot of young adults do, I contemplate the state of my friendships. I have some friends I see fairly often in person because we live near each other. I have some friends I don’t live near but we still communicate fairly regularly. I have some friends I don’t really talk to that often, but I’d be game to hang out any time, though I’m aware of the fact that for some, we never will and eventually the friendship will end. I have some friends I only know through the internet. And then I have some acquaintances.

For me personally, I separate friends from acquaintances/strangers/people I know of based on a mutual voluntary willingness to interact on one’s own time. When I was in university and on the Quidditch team, I one day said something during a conversation at practice like, “oh, I don’t have many friends” and then someone pointed out, “well there’s like fifteen of us here; what are we?” I replied that they were mostly acquaintances. No one was on the team because they personally liked me. They were there because they wanted to play Quidditch and would be doing so regardless of if I was there or not. Showing up to the same practices I do does not count as friendship to me if I never interacted with them outside of those few hours of structure and we never were particularily close while there anyway. I got razzed for this belief for the rest of the year, but I do stand by it (though I probably shouldn’t have said it).

i said what i said gif.

In the blogosphere, I often see tweets asking “Are we Instagram friends yet?” accompanied by a link to the person’s Insta account, and that lowkey bothers me. I’m not hating on anyone who does this, but I personally don’t think that following someone on Instagram counts as friendship, and even throwing out the option of that is ridiculous because it’s so unlikely. There are more genuine ways to garner followers, I think, than pretending you’re building meaningful relationships. Because to me, that’s what a friend is: a meaningful relationship.

Everybody wants friends and everybody likes friends, but friendship and how we approach it has changed a lot in the past few years. Because of social media, it’s easier to keep up with people far away, but is liking a post enough to maintain friendships? Sometimes I’ll see a tweet like “I don’t care if we haven’t talked in a year, you can call me and we’ll be the exact same as we were, I love friendships like that!” Is this sentiment true for you, because I don’t know how I’d react if some person I haven’t talked to in a year for no reason showed up and tried to pretend nothing changed.

It’s interesting that the media puts so much emphasis on having one close friend group. From Friends to The Bold Type to even Supergirl, Blindspot, and The Big Bang Theory, these ‘squads’ of close, family-like friends are seen as the ultimate goal of life. Find your tribe, and all that, which is great, but I think most people don’t have that. Most people have friends from various points of their in life. But shows like Friends rarely show other friends who are just as loved but not living in the same city or part of the squad or whatever.

FRIENDS.

Though interestingly enough, the people these shows are targetting seem to have neither. There are a bunch of articles stating that though Millenials/Gen-Z are the most connected, we’re also the loneliest. Is this because the friend focus is being put on the wrong people? Or because we’re content with a just few Likes? Or because we’re too poor to actually go hang out with friends? Or because we don’t know how to talk to people?

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t thrive in a lot of social settings. I sometimes have trouble talking to new people and I do fear that I’ll never make more close friends because everyone knows that making friends as an adult is hard. That’s why I’m even more grateful for the friends I do have now. I’m so glad we voluntarily interact and lift each other up and laugh together.

As much as we’d all like a squad of our own, it’s more important to cherish the friends you have and ensure that those relationships are as strong and healthy as you want them to be, even if they’re not Instagram-perfect. Don’t be fooled into thinking follower count = friend count, unless you choose to define it that way and are content with that.

squad goals gif.
The Squirtle Squad is the only valid squad

How do you define friendship and what do you think about the media’s portrayal of friendships?

 

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Let’s Stop Saying Things We’ll Never Follow Through On

One thing I’ve noticed a lot in these new adult years is that people, some more than others, have a really bad habit of saying things they either don’t mean or they will never follow through on, even if they did mean it.

And I’d like it to stop.

Of course, it’s a thing that people probably don’t even realize they’re doing it, so it’s hard to change, but if I may, I’d like to suggest that in your next social conversation, try to notice it happening. Listen for it from all parties. You may be surprised how often it happens. It happens at work, I’ve noticed as well.

Because you never know when you’ll be talking to someone (me) who takes everything to heart (me) and then bases her self worth over it (me).

i'm just kidding gif.

Okay, that’s dramatic, but the point still stands. I’ve had friends say something like “you’ll have to come to my cottage this summer!” and then I’ll never get an invite, or “you’ve never seen [insert some old Disney movie here]? Okay, one day we’re gonna watch it together!” and then we don’t. Do you know how many friends over the years have said, “I want to straighten your hair! We’ll have a sleepover and I’ll straighten it!” At least three. Do you know how many actually followed through? Zero. Not that I want my hair straightened, I’m just saying.

My best friend and I have for years talked about going to London, England one day. But we never made plans or set deadlines or made it seem like it was realistic for us any time soon. Even now, I in theory could go given that I have a job and vacation time, but my friend is still in school, so it’d be dumb to do that, and we’re not in a rush. If we ever talk about it these days, it’ll still be in that future idyllic sense so we know we’re not letting anyone one down because we’re reasonable humans.

I know it’s probably my fault for believing these grandiose plans and letting the constant failure of them get to me, but I also think the world would be better if we were more honest and realistic about things we say and do and think.

i'm not wrong gif.

And I’m realizing that maybe I sound bitter and projecting my social life insecurities into this post, but it’s not just fellow young people around me doing it. My parents do it with their friends for things not even involving me. I just watch it happen (or not happen, I should say).

It’s so easy to say “we’ll do this,” and “we’ll do that,” and “I’ll totally invite you here,” and in my heart I know that people more often than not actually do want to follow through, but they either forget they said it or things just don’t work out. So I guess my point is if you notice this being a pattern in your life, maybe think twice about so casually saying something because holding back certainly won’t hurt.

Does this make sense?

I'm just trying to help the world gif.

 

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Maybe I Suck At Friendships A Little…

I’ve complained before (x / x) about how dissatisfied I am with my social circles. As I near the end of my university career, these feelings of regret and insecurity are really popping up in me. I have friends and a few best friends, but I feel like I only have a few long-term friends, and I certainly don’t have that real life ‘squad’ or ‘tribe’ that we all strive to be a part of. Out of my small batch of university friends, there are maybe four or five that I feel I’ll maintain contact with once we’re in different cities and not seeing each other regularly, and even out of those four, I don’t know if I’ll still be friends with any of them in five years. I don’t really have a great track record, you know? I can’t keep denying this when there is clearly a pattern, and I am the common denominator.

For the last couple years, I’ve been blaming other people for my lack of close friendships. But that’s unfair. Lately I’ve been kind of accepting the fact that I suck at communication too, and maybe I’m not even that pleasant to be around (still working on that positivity thing…). I sit around wondering why no one starts conversations with me, but when do I start the conversations? And even when there is a conversation going, do I  making it worth having?

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I recently reconnected with a friend I made in first year who literally dropped off the map for two years after that. We talk a bit on Snapchat (which I know isn’t the ideal vehicle for productive conversation) but our chats are limited to the really basic “how are you?” and “where are you these days?” and “what are you doing after grad?” so the conversations die quickly and I don’t feel like there was a meaningful bond made. Is this my fault for just being boring or is this typical? We were never too really close, so I don’t know what I’m expecting.

Maybe social media is the problem. It’s easy to use and connects us together, but maybe it is the reason why conversations that aren’t face-to-face are a struggle for me when it comes to real life friends (I think I’m decent at online communication with internet friends).

My best friend has recently developed into a ‘live in the moment’ kind of guy, and last summer we were talking about communication habits. He made some interesting comments. He said that he doesn’t really like using media to communicate. He’d rather talk face to face, and I think we all would, but he’s gone as far to delete some social media and not use others. Furthermore, he says that when he’s at school, he doesn’t talk to people from home, and when he’s a home, he doesn’t talk to people from school. I asked if he felt that this would mean he’d lose the friendships when school ends, and he said yes and that life is like that.

I guess I have to accept that some friends aren’t forever friends, they’re temporary situational friends. And that’s fine. If both parties aren’t going to put in effort, then that’s how it is. I can’t keep blaming others when I’m not perfect at this either, and maybe I use others as an excuse rather than facing my own issues. This is me at least admitting that I have communication issues. How I deal with this is a whole other yet-to-be-explored story.

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Do you have any thoughts or tips?

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