Yesterday's Friends Might Not Be Tomorrow'sMaggie Jankuloska

With this being said, not all friendships can be salvaged. People enter our lives, people exit our lives; such a change is inevitable. People grow, people change and we have to let this happen. Our priorities change, we become busier, sometimes wiser and hopefully clever enough to sometimes see what no longer fits in our lives.

Recently I had the opportunity to reacquaint myself with an old friend, who back in high school was my best friend. We knew each other’s secrets and hopes, invented our own vocabulary and we were inseparable. Fast-forward to the first year of post-high school realities of university and jobs and shifting priorities and our friendship slowly changed. Yet what dramatically changed and eventually ended our friendship was my disapproval of her first boyfriend. As she distanced from me, she attached more to him. Although I may have wanted to shake her up, I let her live her own life and make her own decisions.  Five years later, she is married to him, has a child with him and has converted to his faith.

As I spoke to her recently via a social networking site, I was saddened to discover that the friend I missed and loved was no longer there. I tried futilely to cling onto a memory of her and us and revive that bygone innocence of youth. We weren’t the same girls who lusted over Josh Hartnett and idealistically planned our futures.  In fact, after a few chats, I realised the polar opposites we had become. We could never start afresh as adult friends and go to the movies or grab a coffee because of her changing priorities and newfound religious conservatism.  I grew critical of her radical religious transformation and her smug satisfaction of merely being a wife and mother. I could similarly imagine her being critical of me being unwed (although I’ve been in a long-term relationship) as well as judgement over my vacuous hopes to write professionally whilst teaching.

Although I may not approve of all her choices and she may not approve of or admire mine, I will continue to care for her and wish her only happiness. With that being said, her version of happiness may no longer be my idea of happiness – and that’s fine. While I may wish her a happy birthday and send her periodical greetings, I will accept that some things cannot be resurrected and accept that. Some people and relationships end and we have to accept that; that doesn’t mean all relationships have to end. If we are very lucky, we will be graced with lifelong friendships which need to be sustained with love and nurturing.

Yet sometimes, even when the love and care are there, friendships end and we have to let go. We drift and grow and in the process, we gain and lose people, which is a part of life. The friends you have in your mid-20s are often not the friends you had in your teens and if they are, the dynamics are bound to be different. You don’t incessantly  talk on the phone for three hours a night; you no longer find excitement in the little things like a party.  Instead, you opt for a quiet dinner with your friend and the comfort of flat shoes.

To quote Deborah Reber in Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul, “Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.”  You can’t force people to stay, whether they are friends or lovers. In addition, you can’t force them to fit a mould of what you imagine a friend or lover to be like. What you can do is be the best version of yourself and not define yourself through interactions of the past, present or even the future.

Featured image courtesy of Captiol Films (Edge of Love)

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  1. This article really related to me, and is something I am currently struggling with. My best friend / roommate from college and I are reunited, and things just aren’t the same. We seem to be forcing it, and I have been feeling such guilt. Thanks for putting things into perspective.

    I was a bit “perturbed” by your statement of your former friend “merely” being a wife and mother. It read to me as if that wasn’t enough. That to be valued, she needed to also have a “job” or “career”. I am married without children, but have a LOT of mothers in my life who have chosen “mother and wife” as their career, and let me tell you. Their job seems more challenging, dynamic, creative, necessary, and rewarding than any “career” in a building somewhere. I can’t think of anything more important than molding a child.

    OK – off my box. Thanks for a great article!

    http://www.fiterature.com

    • There’s nothing wrong with being a wife and mother. both are valued and beautiful roles. i used the term merely only because i know this person in question sacrificed lots of dreams and other hopes

  2. Very true!:)

  3. [...] there are some things I’m not sorry about. Reading a HelloGiggles article the other day, I thought back to every “best friend” from my childhood. There was Mary, [...]

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your words. They really resonated with me, especially the words you quoted at the end. Thank you again.

  5. When I was 15, I got to know a pupil who became a friend of mine. He told me a few months later that he was gay. I chose to end our friendship, not because he was gay, but because he was arrogant and I didn’t like the way he treated another friend of ours. I ran into him a few months ago and we talked for minutes.

    I got to meet awesome people when I entered university in 2006. Those people have become friends of mine, and we always have a blast when me meet. We also call each other. I hope we’ll be able to be friends for a long time.

    Thank you for this amazing article you wrote. I loved it

    • Thank you for sharing, glad my piece could relate to you. We grow and evolve and in that process we lose and gain ppl.

      Maggie Jankuloska | 9/23/2012 08:09 pm
  6. I’m so glad that I’ve been able to stay friends with my best friend. We’ve been friends since 1995! :) But there have also been friends that have walked out of my life….

  7. Thank you. This really resonates with me right now.

  8. Thank you all, glad my 1st article can relate to so many people.

  9. Well, it’s true that people grow, and sometimes they just grow apart. That’s life. But I believe that a real friendship; and I mean the real thing, I hope everyone has been blessed to know what I’m talking about, can never wither.

  10. My dad once likened friendships to flowers on a tree. You cultivate the flowers that are the most resilient and allow them to grow as big as they can get. You have to cut off the lesser blooms to ensure the tree grows to its full potential. Sometimes, the flowers aren’t bad flowers, but they won’t ever become the biggest blooms. You learn over time which to nourish and which to let go.

  11. Pretty much explains the past couple years of my life. I think major life changes can either strengthen or weaken a friendship. For me, one was strengthened, and one was definitely weakened. I guess it just depends.

  12. One of the best posts I’ve read in a long time — it pretty much sums up my life. Awesome job. :)

    • Thank you for the lovely feedback,this is my first HG piece. I’m sure this is something everyone goes through at one stage of their life.

      Maggie Jankuloska | 9/18/2012 03:09 pm