Written by: Amy Hagan
Most everyone would love to have that one friend or group of friends that travels with us throughout our lives: The ones we can count on in good and bad times, and to be able to share all of our grand and minute moments with. Lately, it seems more and more, people are expressing their frustration that the people they thought were their “Best Friends Forever” are actually not, and friendships are disintegrating faster than ever, along with the hope of ever finding these very special people dwindling with each passing year. What is going on here?
Well, the first problem I see is that people hold firm to the belief that the main players in our lives should be totally and completely devoted to us. They should be everything we need at all times, when required–even at their own expense. It is completely unrealistic to expect this from everyone, although, I do know a couple of people who can pull this off magnificently.
Another issue, In my opinion, is that too much emphasis and pressure is placed on everyone to find a soul mate in this culture. True friendship, I believe, begins with maintaining a behaviour set consisting of a healthy consideration of others and an amiable disposition. In otherwords, applying the fundamental guidelines of etiquette and conduct.
Putting selfishness and malicious intent aside for a moment (as we all know these are two very prominent reasons why friendships don’t last) the fact of the matter is we are grown-ups now. The relationships we had as children and young adults are morphing into something new and at times, this can feel quite daunting. Much like, the boyfriend or girlfriend you had as a teenager now turns into your husband or wife–a totally different relationship with different rules and expectations, platonic friendships, similarly, change their characteristics as we step a solid foot into adulthood.
We are accumulating responsibilities and obligations. We are also finally settling into our belief and value systems. In a manner of speaking, we are maturing in a more practical–real world fashion; our tastes are changing and/or refining, and, we’re all doing this in different ways, and in our own time.
Whereas before, it might’ve been cool to have “Crazy Chris” hang out at your house to all hours of the night, now, it isn’t so much, now you may take getting to work on time more seriously, you have a spouse you have to consider, and/or you have kids who do not need to be exposed to “Drunken Dana’s” promiscuous lifestyle. Fun friend…but, they’ve got to go.
How about the friend who always needs to “borrow” money from you or always needs you to pay for his ticket to the club, concert or lounge? Now, you have rent or a mortgage to pay, insurance, and a future nest egg that you are really genuinely interested in cultivating now. Love ya lots…you’ve got to go.
And, then there’s the Diva and Divo. It’s all about them–all of the time. Their lives are drama even when nothing’s going on, they take up all of your time and suck up all of your energy. But, he–you’ve got mad drama going on too! How are you possibly going to find the mental stamina to keep up with both of your lives? Uh-uh…gotta go!
Then there’s the concept of maturing that is rarely touched on. The kind where people really assess who they are and who they want to become. The lifestyle designers. They work hard to create and cultivate a mentality, a code of ethics and religious or spiritual state of being. Unfortunately, your friends of old ain’t quite there with you. YOU know… hanging around them isn’t even fun any more, or may kill your spirit, or, at the very least, keeps you stuck at the same level you’re ready to move on from. I’m sorry…they may be lovely people, but…they’ve got go, sweetie…
Knowing who your true friends are isn’t so much about what can this person do for you as it is knowing what this person can do TO you. Do they enlighten, inspire, and support you? Or, do they bring you down, keep you down, or take you over? Therefore, to know who your true friends are, you’ve gotta know who YOU are, what are your goals, and what are your values. We must remember, learning who we are takes a lifetime, so we shouldn’t get too bent out of shape when some friendships don’t work out or need a hiatus. It’s nothing personal, but, at the same time, it is; it’s nothing personal to you, but, EVERYTHING personal to me.
Fear of loneliness and of being alone is the dominating motivator for holding onto people who are detrimental to your mental and spiritual self. Also, if you are the type of person who isn’t satisfied with a basic friendship and need a Super BFF status, at this stage of our lives, you may try finding friends by taking classes and joining organizations that cater to your new-found way of life. You should be able to meet and resonate well with like-minded individuals who will complement your lifestyle.
Personally, I believe that once the shift into true adulthood has been made, I don’t believe we can ever have again the same types of best friendships as we had when we were children. Certainly, not with a lot of those same people. And, you know what…it’s okay.
**This post is not for those who HAVE been able to maintain life long friendships. I am happy for all of you.