Having recently graduated from university and making a big move to Ireland, I’ve been going through a lot of changes all at once. A lot of these changes required leaving some people behind – some intentionally, and some unintentionally.
Throughout our lives, we meet so many different characters. Some have large roles, where you’ll never be able to imagine how you ever lived without them, while others have smaller roles, leaving you wondering why you even bothered to keep them around. As we get older, our pool of close friends becomes smaller and smaller, and while it may seem like you’re losing out, it’s actually a blessing. This allows you to realize that these friends, the ones who are left, are genuine, life-long buddies who will stick by you no matter what, and who lasted this long because they care most about you.
In my life, I’ve noticed my friend pool dwindling particularly after big changes have occurred: after graduating from high school, moving to Halifax, graduating from University, and moving to Ireland. However, it wasn’t until recently that I took the initiative to deliberately leave certain people behind. People drift apart naturally; they change and live different lives that it sometimes becomes unnecessary and even hindering to keep some friends around. We must differentiate between the friends that are worth the effort against those who are not, and in doing so, there are some things to keep in mind when consciously making such a decision.*
1) It’s okay not to be friends anymore.
Friendship is a two way street, and if you are not getting what you deserve in this relationship, then you need to let it go. Having already invested a lot of time and effort into a relationship is no reason to keep someone around if they only make you feel like crap on toast.
2) Relationships only get better.
You will go through so many changes and stages in your life, that it will make sense to have a certain set of friends at one point, but not at another. The people in your life will reflect the progress you’ve made and will be better than the ones you had beforehand. Remember: you can always make new and better friends, no matter what.
3) You are only going to be as good as the people you surround yourself with.
Be brave enough to let go of the people holding you down. Surround yourself with individuals who reflect how you want to feel and who you want to be.
4) Everything will change, but friendship remains the same.
Just because you may not live in the same city, are working towards different goals, or may be at different stages in your life, does not mean you need to let go of a true friend. As long as you find common ground, and are there for one another when you need it, then you still have the foundation of a positive and fulfilling friendship.
5) Nobody’s perfect.
People make mistakes. Friends will let you down, hurt you, disappoint you, and they may never feel bad about it. Such is life, but it doesn’t necessarily need to cost you your friendship. Only walk away if this is an ongoing struggle, and something that is constantly making the relationship more stressful than enjoyable.
6) Don’t let the end ruin what was…
Whether or not you decide this person should be in your life should not discredit the memories and moments that you shared together. Remember the good times for what they were – good. Be happy that they happened, even if the relationship becomes toxic (bad breakups, anyone?)
7) But remember, if someone doesn’t stick, there’s a reason.
You should never try to force a friendship. It’s a waste of time, and you’ll only end up frustrated and disappointed. If it’s meant to be, it will be, even with friends.
When you’re lucky enough to find those friends who have made it through all of the hard times, weird times, and times of bad decision-making, then appreciate the hell out of them. Be thankful for the people in your life who make things more enjoyable, who build you up when you’ve been torn down, and who are always there to give you a shoulder to cry on. These people are a gift, and should be treated with the same respect. You’ll always find them. At some stage, at some place, the ones who are meant to stick with you till the end will be realized. No matter what, be thankful for the time you’ve had with friends, even if they only served your purpose for a short time. Regardless of whether they become life long friends, in some way or another, they’ve made you who you are today, and that’s something to always be grateful for.
NOTE: *These things can apply to any relationship at all, romantic, generic or otherwise. You should always surround yourself with the people who see the greatness within you, not the ones who take greatness away from you. ** The people in this photo are incredible individuals and should in no way be associated with negative intentions or unappreciated friendships.