I’m losing associates, and gaining friends. Girl, bye.
An anonymous blog post about losing old friends and gaining new ones. Is it such a bad thing that people grow and spread their wings and therefore meet similar people on the way? What do you think, lose old associates, therefore gaining friends? Comment below.
Since birth, we have been socialised into having friendships based on age and location, mostly gained from our educational establishments. Your “best friends” were the people you spent every day with, learning and playing. Not once did I stop to wonder if we would have been so close had we not been thrown into the same environment together five days a week. With daily secret sharing and monthly sleepovers, I was so sure that these were definitely my best friends for life.
I have recollections of having a friendship group in Primary School, consisting of three sets of best friends. One of the girls went on a family holiday for a month and returned to find that her best friend had a new best friend – simply because she hadn’t been around. She was therefore no longer part of our friendship group and had to find a new best friend. Sometimes life comes at you real fast. Primary school was cut throat.
Nowadays we are all juggling life – and our life stages are dependent on the choices that we have made throughout the years. It could have been the decision to have children, to start a career, to go travelling, join a religious group, or to do nothing at all in some cases. And as humans, we tend to gravitate towards people that are aligned with our life stage – or where we want to be.
Age is no longer an important factor to me; having lost many friends over the years that I can no longer relate to, just because we are all at different life stages. I haven’t taken it personally and I hope they haven’t either. People grow and change, which is completely fine. No bad feelings over here.
On the other hand, some people grow and change at a much slower rate, which can also lead to distance. How many times have you bumped into someone that you haven’t seen in years, only to realise that they behave exactly the same, use the same vocabulary that really should have been left in secondary school, frequent the same places and do the same things, yet you are almost unrecognisable? I’m often proud of my growth when that happens.
The first set of friends I’d noticed to drop off were the unexpected mothers. This wasn’t intentional but I was still young, and I wanted to party. If you weren’t partying every weekend with me chances are I wouldn’t be seeing you. And having a new-born infant leaves you with little time to yourself- let alone the upkeep of your friendships, so after a few visits and “aww so cute’s” we drifted. I hope they didn’t blame me because I didn’t blame them either. We were just at different life stages, and we had different priorities.
The second set of friends were the ones with different aspirations in life. We fought so much because they no longer understood me. According to them I had changed grown up, spoke differently, acted arrogantly, and no longer had an interest in the same old shitty clubs and minimum wage jobs. Can’t say I miss them, as I refuse to apologise for changing. This was a clear example of growing apart.
Nowadays I judge friendships based on the effort made by both parties. We are all busy doing this thing called life, and if I haven’t spoken to someone in two months it doesn’t make them any less of a friend to me. The only requirement I have is that they put in the effort when they have the time, or when you need them. The worst culprits are those who drone on endlessly about themselves, without pausing to even ask how you are doing. And as an introvert (INFP to be precise) it’s enough to make me archive your WhatsApp convo, never to be seen again.
The friends that you get drunk with every Friday because you happen to be around may not be the ones to call you up just to see how you are or check up on you if they know that you’re going through hard times. Don’t be fooled by those who are always in your face. And the older I get, the more I have realised that your quality of friendships are far more important than the number of friends you have, or what you can all relate to.
We may not all be at the same life stage, but my current fundamentals of friendship involve taking the time to check up on each other, being encouraging, embracing changes, being open-minded, supportive and loving. As long as you maintain those fundamentals, I’m happy. And in the technological age, it has never been easier; so don’t listen to those “I’ve been so busy” people, after a year of no contact. You just weren’t a priority for them.
The biggest blessing to me in the past year has come in the form of getting to know people that are years older than me — and making friendships as a result of discovering that we have way more in common that I could even imagine. It has really made me grow as a person, and receive advice from a completely different outlook on life. It has however resulted in a struggle to maintain some friendships with people my own age, as they seem so immature in comparison. But maybe that just means I’m a grandma, who prefers sitting in a cafe sipping mint tea or drinking cocktails in a fancy bar than being in a sweatbox of a club.
I have become ruthless this year — my time is limited and I’m not going to waste it on associates. I know exactly who my friends are, they love me, encourage me, push me to excel, tell me when I’m wrong or being lazy, will always check up on me, and I’ll move mountains for them in order to give them the same friendship that they have given me over time. And no matter what life stage we are at, I’ll make sure that we’ll never drift.
Unless they become a bad friend. Because no one wants a bad friend.