We like to think that everyone in our life is there forever, and it’s true with family, but with friends it’s normally not the case. We love the concepts of best friends for life and we don’t like to think about the fact that most people only end up passing through. It sounds terrible to say that people are temporary, but yet, their time in our lives often are.
As I was making the guest list for my wedding I found myself thinking back to high school. I thought I’d have a different group on that list then I did, if you flash forward to college, my list would still be a little different. I’ve lost a lot of people over the years, and most of them fell off naturally. It’s not something I think about often, after all, I’ve gained a lot of people too, but some of the people I lost I thought would be around forever. I never thought it was naive to think that, but clearly it was. It got me thinking on how I view friendship and how I should.
You don’t want to treat people like they’re temporary, you want to treat them like they’ll be around forever, because that’s how you make meaningful relationships. If we treated people like they were temporary we wouldn’t put in half the amount of effort. We’d never get to know them as deeply and we’d lose a lot more than we gained. But there is something to be said about loving them like they are going to be here forever but learning to let go of them like you knew they were going to one day leave.
Friendships can be messy when they end or they can be so uneventful that you hardly even noticed them drifting away. The messy ones scar us. We hold on for dear life and then we go up in flames. I had a really messy parting with a friend that still bothers me to this day. I don’t know how long it’ll take me to fully let it go, but if I had let her go like I knew one day she would leave I could look back at the friendship fondly instead of with bitter resentment. The year she parted wouldn’t have been so hard and I could have moved on gracefully.
There’s a peace that comes with knowing that something might end. If or when the friendship closes we can say it was worth every moment and that we loved it. If somehow it doesn’t end we can be thrilled that we survived despite all odds, but either way, we know that the relationship was worth it and we are at peace with it.
I think it’s time we shift our mindsets ever so slightly. I think it’s healthy to look at things as beautiful but temporary. After all, our own lives are beautiful but temporary, and there is a lot of peace that comes from processing that truth as well. So, love your friends like you’re building a foundation for forever, but learn to let go like you knew this day would come, you’ll still build off of those foundations, just differently than you originally planned.