I don’t know what it is about entering the defining decade of our twenties that puts our friendships to the ultimate test. When I think back on the past few years of my own life, I immediately think of all of the people that have become faded memories. We haven’t hurt each other, we haven’t fought, and we haven’t had this epic, dramatic blowout. We simply just lost contact, went in different directions and had different experiences.
I still remember the night I came to the painful realization that a couple of my best friends and I did not feel that close anymore. We were at a distance and at a different place. We no longer had the same love for things that we had when we were teenagers and the memory of those years made it difficult to let go of the friendship that once felt like a sisterhood.
When we were together, we would play catch-up but I consistently felt myself getting irritated with the same old stories. Not because we had nothing new to share, but because we no longer could relate to one another. It is a heartbreaking thing, to say the least. To feel like your best girlfriends who knew you better than anyone, do not know you at all anymore.
This is not the case with every friendship, but how do we find it within ourselves to accept the ones that do fade? How do we stop trying so hard to prolong the inevitable?
Navigating the Loss of a Friendship
1. Cherish the memories you do have with that person.
People from all walks of life will enter yours for an abundance of reasons. They will teach you, they will change you and they will shake you at your core so you grow as the person you are meant to be. They were there for some of your defining life moments, and for that you will always have a bond.
2. Appreciate the friendships that do last.
I have lost many friends along the way, and the relationship with my friends who have stuck around has amplified. Their new jobs, relocating to new cities, marriage and babies has not faltered our friendship. It gives me great hope that these friends will be around through the rest of my twenties and further!
3. Making friends after college may be a tad more difficult than it was during those four years.
In college, you and your friends had basically the same experiences, which made bonding a lot simpler. Living together, classes together and growing together is a recipe for friendship. But what about after graduating and emerging into the rest of your twenties?
Be open to making new friends, not in place of the friendships that have faded, but because you will have new experiences and everyone needs somebody to learn and grow with!
4. In times like these, learn to be your own best friend!
In doing so, you will learn so much about who you are, and what you want to offer your future friendships. What makes you happy? What are your hobbies and interest now that may not have been before? Being your best self and knowing who you are is the recipe for finding life-long friends.
Do this unapologetically, and surround yourself with people who do this as well. Knowing yourself will make it easier to recognize when to let go of the “what used to be.”
Many things in life run their course, especially our friendships. While it is so hard to let go, try to acknowledge why it is best to do so! People grow apart and they move on. As painful as this is, it is better to do so instead of waiting for something to come along and end it for you.