No one ever tells you the hard truths of life. Maybe it’s because they think you can’t stomach it, or maybe it’s because they think it’s just something you have to experience firsthand to understand. One thing I wish I was told – the famous quote: “As we grow up, we realize it becomes less important to have a ton of friends, and more important to have real ones.” We all grew up watching Zack, Kelly, Slater, Jessie, Lisa and Screech- Saved by the Bell to the College Years to the Wedding Special…buddy bands, friends forever.
Reality check! Relationships change over time, but I definitely didn’t anticipate my BFF friendships to evolve so significantly as I moved from my 20’s to my 30’s. To me, my friends are my family. Friends share the happiness, multiply the joys and help us get through the tough times in life.
As I walked through my 20’s, I found that many of my friendships transformed or disappeared as we took different paths and circumstances changed. I even found myself needing to prune my friendship tree so I could give full attention to those who really supported my well-being. I will admit that this was a hard process for me- people that were in my life for a very long time, who knew me inside out, became different people and we grew apart. What got me through it- I started to gain an understanding of “friendfluence”. It’s the powerful and often unappreciated role that friends play in determining who we are and the direction of our lives.
Whether you realize it or not, all of your friends (past and present)(evil and wonderful) have helped shape you into the amazing human you are today. I can now say that I finally get, and believe, that life puts you in touch with the people you NEED to meet and be with – to help you, to hurt you, to leave you, to love you, and to gradually strengthen you into the person you were meant to become. People come and go for reasons- embrace the lesson learned, HAVE FUN, DANCE, and cherish those you have.
So I ask you this: When was the last time you found yourself thinking, “I need to give (fill in the name) a call” and then days, weeks, sometimes even months go by and you never made the call? My hand is up. As we get “older” it seems we often don’t make the call or get together as life gets in the way- big girl career, cleaning the house, husband, yoga (not in that particular order) comes into play and we let our friendships slide. Yes, you’re busy- so busy that sometimes you forget to feed the goldfish or put in your left contact, and then after a lengthy work week it can be difficult to get the energy to go grab a drink with a girlfriend or pick up the phone. I, of all people, get it. At times we may feel like we are being pulled in every direction possible, but we have to remember that at the end of the day, it’s still up to us to decide what our priorities are. If relationships are important, we will make time for them. I think you can tell what’s important to a person by the way they spend their time…if it’s important they will make time.
So why not make it a priority to say ‘Happy Birthday’, ask someone what is happening in their lives- not just a ‘hi, how are you?’, because we all know everyone is ‘good’, right? Celebrate the joys and mourn the losses of your nearest and dearest. Trust me, having a couple of close friends you can rely on will make a difference in your life. As they say “shared joy is doubled, shared sorrow is halved.” Relationships make you a better person.
Remember, life is like a party. You invite a lot of people, some leave early, some stay all night, some laugh with you, some laugh at you, and some show up late. But after the fun, there are a few who stay to help you clean up the mess. (And usually they aren’t even the ones who made the mess ). These people are your TRUE friends. They are the ones who matter most. Make time for them- all relationships require some TLC.
Now go, bay awesome.