I am not good at being bad at things. One day, my coworkers created a game that involved throwing playing cards into holes hanging on the wall (it was a slow day). We were all pretty bad at it. Everyone quickly got bored and returned to work. I, however, spent hours tossing cards at that stupid thing. When my arm began to ache, I switched to lefty. Failure is something I have trouble accepting and despite what Apollo 13 says, I have always felt failure is an option, one I don’t much like to explore.
I view friendships in the same way. I want to be good at them. I want to be the enemy of your enemies, the keeper of your secrets and the bringer of your ice cream. I want to be the best friend you’ve ever had and I always thought if I worked hard enough, friendships would last forever. The thought of looking back at an old photo and seeing someone I “used to” be friends with is, to me, failing at friendship. I therefore, have spent years of my life doing everything I can to preserve friendships. I gave and gave, often getting little in return. I allowed people to treat me poorly with the rationalization that they were just having a bad day or were insecure. I avoided confrontation like the plague, so as to not upset anyone. Simply put: I became a pushover. I didn’t want to admit failing, so I allowed people to take advantage of my friendship.
However, in the midst of a Quarter Life Crisis, where I am being forced to evaluate what is important to me, I have come to the conclusion that it is okay to fail at certain friendships. I have spent far too long allowing myself to be dumped on by people in order to avoid losing them as friends. I realize that it is better to confront your friends and risk losing them than allow them to continually hurt you. The ones that are meant to stick around will. In fact, those friendships will actually grown stronger as a result of this honesty. The people who don’t care enough about you enough to put in the effort will merely dissolve from your life like Top Model cast offs.
I look back at photos of people I “used to” be friends with and no longer see failure, but growth. Each friendship has taught me something about myself and I am grateful for that. Not all friendships are meant to last forever. Sometimes people come into your life and drift out and that’s okay. Hopefully, at the end of the day what you’re left with is a group of people who love you and support you. I am grateful to have so many awesome people in my life and now that I’m not lugging around so much pent up animosity I have more happiness to share with them. It took me far longer than it should have, but I’ve finally figured out that friendship is a quality not quantity kind of game, one of which I am actually pretty good at after all.
Feature image by jenniefromtheblock.com