Monday, November 30, 2015

Best Friends For...?

     I don't know if this is still the case, but when I was in middle school and early high school, there was a big market for "BFF" products. Necklaces, key-chains, basically any practical object that preteen girls could imagine to let the world know that someone was claimed as their best friend, forever. But when you're that young, you don't really understand how long forever is, and the people you once honored with those sacred tokens eventually grow up and travel different paths. Sadly, the person or people you were closest too at one point can turn into distant acquaintances you rarely even talk to. At this point in my life, I'm not sure I believe that one person can be your best friend forever, because everybody changes as they grow, and no two people can grow in exactly the same direction at exactly the same pace. Even so, it's hard not to hope that maybe they can.
     For the first time since my early childhood, there is no person that I truly consider my best friend. It's very difficult for me to give voice to that statement, because it makes me feel like I'm giving up on someone. But I'm trying to learn the difference between giving up and letting go, and to remember that no friendship is going to be healthy and productive if one person is putting in the majority of the effort all the time. I used to think that I was really good at being a friend, but now I'm starting to think I'm just good at listening to people's problems while hiding my own, and especially good at giving people another chance when they repeatedly let me down. Now that I stop and think about it, that sounds more like a good pushover than a good friend. Loneliness is something I have struggled with on and off for a long time, and I will hold on to mediocre friendships for far too long because I'm afraid of having no friends at all. Right now, I'm at the place in my life where I feel like I'm ready to put the drama and uncertainty behind me and develop grown up friendships, and I'm trying to learn exactly what that means.
     I know I want to be friends with people who are just as invested in me as I am in them, people who don't make me feel like I have to jump through hoops to earn their friendship. As an introvert, I would rather have a few friends that I can have deep, honest connections with, than have a bunch of friends just to occasionally socialize and make small talk with. I know that these people exist, because as I write out these words, people who I already have in my life are already coming to mind.
    This is a subject that I've just started to think about, so it's hard to come up with a concrete conclusion. So, since this isn't graded and no one can punish me for breaking the rules, I'll end with a question. Think of a person or a few people who you consider your closest friends. What is your favorite thing about them, the reason they have been given the privilege of being your friend?

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