Editor’s Note: Figuring out friendships

At 24 years-old, I feel like I’ve learned a lot from my friendships, and in some ways, more than I have from my romantic relationships.

That’s not to say that I haven’t learned anything from my relationships, I certainly have, given that I’ve been with my boyfriend for over five years now.

But my friendships have always been incredibly important to me, in a different way, and I value the ones that I’ve formed, past and present, for what they’ve each taught me and how they’ve shaped me into the person I am now.

As a relatively introverted person, making friends was never effortless for me, especially in middle school and early high school. And, once I formed my closest friendships, I placed them above pretty much everything else in my life.

I have always cared a lot (especially about relationships both platonic and romantic), to a fault, and more than once it has worked against me and affected me deeply when I had to face a falling out with someone I was once close to.

There’s a wealth of information available about how to cope with relationship break-ups, but not many people speak to the particular pain and sadness that can go along with a “friend break-up.”

A once very close friendship that I had throughout most of high school dissolved by the time I graduated, and there was little to no explanation given as to why it ended. It just did.

That loss hit me harder than the end of my first “real” relationship – I melodramatically grieved the death of that brief partnership with a lot of tears and the stereotypical “mourning period” that Lorelai insists Rory indulge in on Gilmore Girls. I felt sorry for myself and ended up moving on after two weeks.

With that friendship and others like it, those losses felt longer lasting and more tangible in my day-to-day life.

I was more aware of their absence and the fact that they weren’t a fixture in my schedule anymore. Someone I used to talk to every single day, several times a day, was no longer there. And when something you once valued slowly (or suddenly) fades away into irrelevance, it can be extremely hard to know how to deal with it.

I learned, especially after entering university, that there are friends who are only meant to last during a certain point or period in your life.

Does that mean that they are any less important or meaningful? No. It just builds your perspective as to why they were there and what impact they ended up having on you – good or bad.

Even the people I no longer speak to, either because we naturally drifted apart or simply weren’t meant to be friends, I’m thankful they were there and we made memories together.

And as fiercely loyal as I consider myself to be in regards to my friends and loved ones, I can fully recognize with some of my past friendships that I was definitely the one who was in the wrong, and I’m continuing to learn how to be a better person from those mistakes.

When you enter your twenties, it can be challenging, in some ways, to naturally make friends. I started to really meet people I got along with after I got involved – as annoyingly cheesy as that sounds.

Unlike high school, where I formed many of those friendships simply to survive, in university, I met and bonded with the friends I have now through mutual interests and our undeniably weird humour.

And although many of those friend “break-ups” still make me sad, I’m thankful that they all inadvertently led me to the wonderful people I’m close with now.

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