Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Best Friends Forever or Just For Now?
Is it just me, or is the term "Best Friends Forever" just a set-up for disappointment? I remember when we ran into one of my mom's best friends from college, I was about 10. When she told me she never even talks to her anymore I could not understand it. I even told my friends as soon as I saw them how ridiculous it was. I was never going to be my mom, and I would talk to my friends forever! I figured maybe my mom was halfway right and I wouldn't talk to my friends from elementary or even high school forever, but certainly college. It just didn't make sense. I thought we were supposed to be friends forever. What are you supposed to do with no best friends? Those best friends I had when I was 10, I don't talk to them anymore either and I'm pretty sure my 10 year reunion will be the first time I'll even see most of my friends since high school. Even my roommates from college have started their own lives and I am not a huge part in it. We all grow up, go separate ways, find new friends. Even my husband, who grew up in the same house his entire life so he doesn't have the excuse of moving 8 times like I do, has new friends. He actually had the same friends throughout college and even until we were married. I thought it was weird, I thought maybe I just didn't understand this best friend thing after all. But, as soon as we were married and his friends were still single the relationships started to fade away. By the time we had children we never even talked to any of them anymore.
I would certainly love to think that we will have best friends forever, friends that have been there for us since we were 5, friends that knew us before anyone else, but I don't want my children to think that this is how relationships neccessarily work. I know there are some people who have been friends since they were 5 and that is amazing, but for the majority of us that's just not reality. When I was in 5th grade my parents decided to move me to a different school. I remember my best friend and I pleading, absolutely begging, her mom to move her to that school as well. We just couldn't imagine not being in eachother's lives. She did, but do you want to know what happened? My best friend soon found a new friend and they began to bully me mercilessly. Most of my friendships have not ended in such a dramatic way. Most of them begin to fade away over time until I realized those people are just not a part of my life anymore. Our interests change, our physical appearance changes, we move, there are so many reasons our relationships don't stay the same as we grow up. We are constantly growing and changing, getting closer to some people and farther apart from others, trying to live our life the way we want to and not the way others are living theirs. I certainly don't want my children to feel like there is something wrong with them if the person they once considered their best friend one day just isn't anymore. I do want to teach them to nurture their relationships, to value and cherish their friends, and to enjoy every single moment making memories, but I want them to know it's okay if it's not the same person that they are making memories with every single time.
I've learned to value my best friends for now. Those best friends I had growing up had a huge impact on me and who I am no matter how it ended. I needed them at that time in my life, and we really were best friends even if it wasn't for forever. My babies have started to form their first friendships, and I guess it's normal given my history of being bullied to want to protect them, but I know that these friends are going to be some of the most important people in their lives and I can't just keep them away from people for the rest of their lives or hand-pick who it is they hang around with. I want them to enjoy these friendships, and it's up to me to help them learn how to define what friendship even means. In order to do that I had to learn to define it myself.
It doesn't matter how long someone is your friend, if they're there for many years or just a week. A friend is someone who knows the real you and loves you for it, someone who doesn't pressure you to do things you know are wrong and always encourages you to do what's right. A friend is someone you can talk about your hopes and your dreams with, and who will help you think of ways to accomplish them. It doesn't matter if they agree with you 100% of the time or not, you may even fight but you always forgive. A friend is someone who when you truly need them they will always be there, someone who you don't feel bad about calling in the middle of the night. A friend helps you find the strength when you feel like you can't do it anymore, and who will carry you if you need it. A friend is someone who you can pick up the phone after 20 years and you can still carry on a conversation.