One of the hardest lessons we ever learn is that not every friend we regard as “close” or “best” will be there for us through everything. You can wish upon a star, mash bloody fingertips together, and pinky swear all you want, the fact is people change, and that means friendships evolve or end. Usually it is the latter.
There are a ton of theories and hierarchies about friendships and relationships, all of them based in some sort of study. Here are just some observations of my study of the greatest teacher of all, life.
Most friends are seasonal: Yes, some friendships can be lifelong, but most friendships only last a short amount of time. Everything from professional associations to changing tastes can affect a friendship. People often drift apart as time goes on, and it’s a natural rhythm, just like a season’s change. Let them be them and you be you.
Money does end friendships: Let’s be honest – money can and does affect friendships. Those of means can do things and meet people others can’t. They often have very different world views and when friends who started out the same financially end up in diametrically different positions, the relationship is often strained. Resentment can and does often take root and, despite the best efforts friends often make, even the strongest relationships have failed when others plant the dread “why is he/she your friend? He’s not like us” seed in our minds. The scene in Pretty in Pink where James Spader’s character says to the other rich teen boy about Molly Ringwald’s character “she’s not from our world” is, sadly, quite accurate in many cases.
Politics often end friendships, too: If there is anything this recent election cycle has proven, it’s that politics can fracture and end even the best friendships. No amount of “besties” could save many relationships affected by vehemently oppositional opinions. Liberals and conservatives often like to associate with like-minded folks and, as much as this is a detriment to our society as a whole, it is a reality which has destroyed many a good friendship. In addition, politics often bring out the worst traits and prejudices in people, which also end friendships.
Romantic relationships are nasty things: A boyfriend or girlfriend can end a relationship with a close friend faster than almost anything. When you hear them whisper or say directly to you how they don’t like you, that’s a signal you’re on borrowed time. Your friendship may reboot later but, chances are, with a massive loss of trust and vastly changed circumstances.
Unrequited feelings: Well, this is a big one. There are a lot of people who decry the “friend zone”, but it is based in a sound, common sense concept. Some friendships develop into romantic relationships which are extremely healthy while others, not so much. In same cases, there is an attraction in both sides but, for whatever reason, one of the friends is either afraid to pursue or wishes things to stay “status quo” because they are afraid to lose the friendship. It’s time for a reality check: a friendship with admitted romantic, unrequited feelings on one side are nearly impossible to maintain. The emotional pain and damage caused can last for years and talking about other relationships only causes further trauma. It is, actually, better to end the friendship than it is to keep it dragging along despite the wishes of either side. This is the one instance where an ending of the friendship is usually in everyone’s best interest. It’s all about growth, and one person cannot grow when they are pining for the other with no hope of anything in the future. It is truly unfair to the one who has the feelings and if the one who doesn’t can’t see that, there’s even more profound issues which need to be addressed.
May your friendships all be rich and joyful and may you all enjoy a wonderful happy life. Remember this one quote: if you aren’t losing friends, you aren’t growing as a person.