Making friends has always been easy for me. And I don’t say that to sound like I’m bragging. It’s just that I’m outgoing and usually willing to go out and do things. I’ve also moved around some so making new friends has kind of been a necessary thing.
But as easy as making friends is, I wouldn’t say I have a ton of really close friends. I’ve had a few that I thought were really close and then something happened and the friendship ended. I think I often feel bad about that and wonder if maybe there is something wrong with me or if it was my fault. Maybe I should have tried harder or something.
But the other day, I realized that friendships are a lot like romantic relationships/dating. And I don’t think that’s something I really realized before.
Now, before you get all crazy on here, let me explain because I’m not saying they are exactly the same or anything. I’m not talking about the intimacy and/or sex part. I am also not talking about the romance or the dating. What I am talking about is how these relationships grow and function.
People always talk about how it’s not good to jump into a romantic relationship too fast. You have to go slow and get to know the person before you truly know what you feel about them. If I was to meet a guy and then come home and say I was in love and we were getting married the next week my friends would probably stage an intervention. Or, at the very least, they would sit down and have a chat with me about reality.
You also go through this whole process of things; like meeting friends and family. Normally I don’t even introduce a guy to my friends until I’ve decided what I feel about him and meeting the family comes even later. Labels and such usually take some time too. I don’t usually go out on a couple of great dates and call someone my boyfriend.
And, sometimes, even after you’ve dated for a long time, you realize that this person just isn’t for you long term. You break up and part ways. It’s sad (often heartbreaking), but it happens.
I recognize all of this with romantic relationships, but none of them happen when I’m making friends. I’ll be friends with a gal for a few weeks and suddenly we’re calling each other besties. And, I think every friendship will last until the end of days. Then when we don’t, I feel like I’ve somehow failed or something. If these were romantic relationships, I’d be telling myself to relax and get a grip.
Seriously though. Relationships – all kinds of relationships -- take time. Establishing a connection takes time. Figuring out what you want from the other person takes time. You aren’t always meant to make it for the long haul. Friendships are relationships so that means they work the same way. You can’t just be instant BFFs and stay friends until the end. Sometimes you will, but sometimes you won’t. Sometimes things won’t work out and that’s OK. Just like it’s OK when you meet a guy and really, really like him, but then things fizzle out after a period of time.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should just give up easily. Work hard to develop your relationships and work hard to keep them. I’m just saying that sometimes you’ll make friends and have a lot in common, but then as things change you’ll grow apart instead of growing together. And that’s OK. Maybe you just weren’t meant to be or maybe their purpose in your life has ended. (And that’s OK too.)