On cultivating friendships and letting go
I read an article in Darling Magazine last week that talked about the evolution of friendships. It weighed heavy on my mind and got me thinking about my own and the company I keep in general.
Who you spend the most time with says a lot about you. I think it goes without saying that everyone needs people in their life who are going to support them, uplift them and grow alongside them.
I don’t know about you, but for me, forming and cultivating friendships seemed so much easier when I was younger. As a kid, we were surrounded by classmates and friends all throughout the week. All through the school day in class, eating lunch together, arranging to meet for school projects, attending school dances together. We were handed so many opportunities for growing these relationships on a daily basis.
I was speaking with a high school friend not long ago about the struggle we had meeting new people. I think we got so used to being around people our age throughout our educational years that when adulthood loomed, it felt like we were left in a giant, black abyss. We now had to make the intentional effort of befriending people (“ahhhhh, the horror!” — me, an introvert).
When did it become so difficult to just walk up to a person and say hello? To find people who were going to stick by you? To stick by people who weren’t going to leave you on read?
I think it’s natural to weave through various friend groups in life:
You have that cluster of friends you’ve known since your early years.
The cluster you’ve had since high school.
The cluster you bonded with in college.
And then you have your adulthood cluster that I’d like to think of as the mosh pit — a combination of new friends and some from previous clusters.
Personally, I feel like I’ve been sucked into a black vortex post-college. Ok, maybe that’s a little dramatic. Maybe it’s just that I’m more perceptive to it lately. Like many people, I have those select friends that I know will always be in my corner, even if we don’t talk every day. But then there are all of the others that are kind of a grey area.
(In semi-related news: I have no doubt social media has put a strain on our relationships. Since when did liking a photo on Facebook or Instagram take the place of a phone call or genuine conversation?)
I think it’s natural to outgrow friendships or for some of them to run their course. I think people are placed in our lives for a reason, no matter the duration.
We need people in our life who are going to encourage us, see past our insecurities and say, ‘hey, I’m here for you.’ We need people who aren’t just going to like your latest Instagram photo, but who will reach out and ask not ‘how are you?,’ but ‘how’s your soul?’
I’ve been lucky enough to come across a number of beautiful souls throughout the years but I think over time and through life events, career paths, moves and distance, these bonds can weaken without you ever really noticing.
So what do we do when we realize it’s happening? How do we know when to reach out or when the sun has set on a friendship?
People grow at different paces and in different ways. I’ve struggled many a times with the ‘when to let go’ phase. I’d like to think I’m a give more than take type of friend. The type of person that will hang on for dear life to keep a person in their life … but at what cost? Should you really be putting time and energy into a person who isn’t putting it in themselves?
Friendships shouldn’t feel like work. When it starts to feel like work then it’s not worth your time, your effort or your heart. Friendships should be fun, light and full of love. You shouldn’t have to struggle to maintain it. You shouldn’t need a reminder to check in on someone. You shouldn’t need their birthday as an excuse to pop in. It should just come organically.
As my mom’s always said, people make time for the people they care about.
So who are you making time for? Who is making time for you?
I guess what I’m trying to say is:
Find your people.
Find your person.
And if they’re truly your person or your people, you’ll know.
And you’ll hang on tight.