It’s the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.”
― Marlene Dietrich
I remember my Dad once told me he could count his best friends on one hand. As a Teenager, I thought this was ridiculous, because I had so many people that I liked to hang out with. I had friends who had friends and those friends had friends and I wanted to be friends with all of them.
The idea of choosing people over others seemed cruel. The reality is though, as you grow up, life teaches you that picking your friends isn’t down to popularity or social status, it’s based on life itself. Sometimes people fade from your life, and you can’t or technically shouldn’t, change that. There is not one person reading this who hasn’t ‘drifted’ from a friend. The reasons why different people drift are numerous. Usually it can be because of college, relationships, arguments or other altering events. Often, we don’t know exactly how it happened, we just know it’s over.
Friendships and relationships; hurt. At least they do if you’re doing them right. I’m not talking about a constant sadness, when you’re constantly questioning the validity of your ‘ship, then you’re stuck in an emotional rut. When you challenge each other to speak about the things which need to be addressed – you’re not shouting, you’re listening. Relationships and friendships, are built on communication. If you talk it out, you’ll almost always find a solution, if you don’t find a solution – you’ll find an ending. Ending isn’t a bad thing.
As Humans – we’re constantly trying to make things last, but the truth is, often we’re not looking to hold on to the person or partner we’re with, we’re just holding on to the idea of them. The memories, and the emotions they used to make us feel, not the ones we are currently experiencing.
My Dad also told me that he could go without seeing his best friends for weeks at a time, and it would still be the same when they met up. An instant connection. I couldn’t believe this, I needed to be with my friends all the time, we needed to keep updated.
Now I realise, that it wasn’t what was lacking in my social life that demanded this fulfillment as a teen, it was what was lacking in myself. I was insecure, nervous and afraid. Friendships and relationships should never be built on fear. Yes, I was constantly moving – but I wasn’t getting anywhere.
I am a firm believer in meeting people for a reason, that reason may be because you’re meant to hurt each other, or inspire each other – both are beautiful things. At first, it may seem hard to grasp the idea that being hurt by someone is beautiful, but it is if you allow yourself to learn from it.
On my first day of secondary school, I was incredibly nervous. I had skinny legs that looked pathetic in my school uniform, my hair was in a low pony-tail and I was desperate to make friends. I heard a conversation at the table behind me, turned back and interrupted – completely unlike me, out of character – but vital. Little did I know then, I had spoken my first words to one of my best friends.
Two years later, another close friend wrote me a letter, saying that I had hurt her and that she felt neglected. I was unaware that I had caused such pain, so we hugged and cried and realised that we would never have to write another letter again, because we both new where we stood, nothing was going to ruin our friendship – because we had been honest and talked it out.
In University, I was late for class and so was this other girl. A chance meeting, so we helped each other find our lecture. I remember that day clearly; I was late because I was feeling upset and I had thought about skipping the class, last minute I ran to it and made a best friend.
On each of these days I was hurt and insecure, but all of them changed me for the better. When we realise that people are not a commodity, they are not numbers on Facebook or Instagram – they are humans with feelings and values, we learn who is important to us. You see we don’t really pick our friends, we learn that most of the time, they pick us. Oh and Dad, you were right.
Words : Erin Grant
Website : mypapermachemind.blogspot.ie
Twitter & Instagram : @papermachemind