Friends are those whom you choose to be family. Some of them were instantaneous, while others took more courting. When I was 16, I had the misconception that my best friend at the time would be my best friend for the rest of my life. Then when we drifted apart, I was inevitably devastated. It felt as if I had lost some integral organ in my life. We had gotten very close very quickly and had been so inseparable that when we were no longer best friends, it almost felt as if I didn’t know how to be me without her. For some time, I wondered what I had done wrong. Had I said something to put her off? Had I been too busy and had not been a good friend? Questions were on a continual loop in my head until I finally figured out that we had simply outgrown each other and had not put in the effort to grow as friends together.
Unlike with family, whom we basically have to grow up with, with friends we have the choice to develop and adapt to each others’ character changes. We all have our own personal milestones, and our friends are those with whom we share such experiences and those who still accept us, not in spite of, but because of our maturation and growth. In turn, we demonstrate the same courtesy to them knowing that changes are inevitable and what matters is how we adjust to them.
This isn’t to say that even the best of friends can’t have their ups and downs. My best friend of four years and I had our first ever quarrel just a few weeks ago. Yes, it was uncomfortable and yes, we were both upset. However, we knew holding onto the negativity wasn’t going to do anything but widen a rift convenient for a nasty thing called resentment. So we both chose to listen to each other and move forward, and it’s allowed both our selves and our friendship to mature.
My personal struggle is maintaining perspective that we are not stagnant beings and that we all mature at different rates. Therefore, it’s even more important that we reserve the utmost compassion to the people we hold dear. For the individuals we want to maintain positive friendships with, we have to make the conscious decision to grow up with them because they’re our brothers and sisters from other mothers and misters.