Old friendships are special. They make us happy. They make us sad. They make us angry.
Why can’t she just be happy for me?
Who is this person?
I don’t recognize her anymore.
You’re just different now.
Old friendships don’t always last… and, well, that’s a good thing. I think one aspect of old friendships (that were solidified when we were really young) is that we didn’t really choose this friend. Not much thinking went into establishing a friendship.
Is that such a terrible thing? Well, yes and no. Friendships that were created through the convenience of location and interests still happen all the time. The difference is that as we mature, our ability to discern between good relationships and toxic ones increases. The truth is that when I was ten, I didn’t think about things like:
Does this person add value to my life?
Do I truly enjoy spending time with her?
Does he support my goals and uplift me?
Are we there for each other when we’re hurting?
Are they honest and genuine?
These questions never really went through my mind at that time. At that time, when I was ten, all I really wanted to do was go play outside and dance around to Britney Spears and dress up. This isn’t to bash my 10-year-old self. I’m not saying that 10-year-olds aren’t smart, or wise, or “in the know.”
10-year-olds just have different priorities and thoughts, which is pretty… normal. What I’m trying to say is that the basis for making and choosing friends changes as you grow older. You ask different questions and hope for different results.
Most of us have a hard time letting go of old toxic relationships because they’re old. We’ve put so much time and effort into these relationships, we’ve known this person for so long, we’ve watched them grow up, and well, how could we give them up?
When I think of some of my old friendships, a lot of memories come flooding into my mind. Boy talks, endless sleepovers, and laughter. It makes me happy, but it also makes me tear up. The memories make me sad, because that’s all they are now. Memories.
I often wonder, “Why can’t it just be like that now? Why did anything have to change?” And that’s when nostalgia takes over as I reminisce about the past. Most of these types of friendships are spent talking about the past and not making many great memories in the present.
But not all old friendships fail.
I have a handful of great friendships that began when I was very young. The difference with these friendships is that we’re not stuck in the past. Our relationship has grown and changed. It’s pretty unrealistic to think that your friends aren’t going to grow and change and become completely different people than they started out as.
We all go through experiences that shape our morals and values, that change the way we think. The difference is truly being able to accept that person, regardless of those changes. I know that sounds simple, but it’s much easier said than done, like most things.
Although I think you should let go of old friendships that have turned toxic, there can always be hope of these friendships getting restored. Each person goes through important events in their life. People can’t always be there for us, and that’s okay.
As a kid, I remember making promises like, I’ll always be there for you and We’ll be best friends forever. And to be honest, although that sounds great, it’s not always feasible. I’d love to be there for all my friends whenever they need me, but I also want to be there for myself when I need me. And sometimes I can’t be there for everyone. Friendships change and grow. They stop. And they begin again. Old friendships don’t have to end, but it’s also okay if they do.
Sometimes we need to make space for something new. New friends, new love, new experiences.