FamilyFriendship

Your Friendships Will Change As You Get Older, And That’s Okay

When I moved to a small town in England, I didn’t expect to go relive my high school experience with mean girls. I thought, naïvely, that I would get along with everyone and share good moments with them because we were all on the same boat. But were we? Were we on the same level of personal growth and spirituality? Were we sharing the same fundamental values? I guess we were not.

This unexpected bothersome experience taught me a lot about friendship, people’s behavior, and myself. I know they’re the bad guy in my version of the story because I was left alone and isolated for months because I wanted to get away from these people who I regarded now as toxic, vain ,and superficial. And then I understood that I am probably the bad guy in theirs. But nevertheless, the lesson here is to stay true to yourself, trust your gut, and never let people take advantage of your kindness. It is simple: You can not get along with everyone you meet. Sometimes it clicks and other times it doesn’t.

After a deeper conversation with a woman wiser than me, I also understood that you have friends from all the different phases of your life. Some people stick around for longer and some do not. And as long as you accept this, I swear you will feel better about yourself. Quality over quantity, you know?

This notion brought me so much peace. I was afraid of being alone and afraid that it would stay like this for a very long time, even though I am in contact with friends from former periods of my life (high school, student years, various jobs). The truth is, nobody wants to be cataloged as the lone wolf. I am a people person, even if sometimes I feel awkward in social situations (I know it’s all in my head). We need people, even if it’s just one person. We need someone to share moments with, to go places with, to get advice from, to share a coffee with from time to time. Let’s not be in denial or be hypocrites here.

With traveling and getting out of your comfort zone, you start to know what kind of behavior you’ll tolerate in your inner circle. The older you get, you realize you don’t want to waste time anymore. You want to surround yourself with uplifting people who bring you something different and positive. You want your life to be filled with moments and experiences of awe. Nothing less.

I read a quote one day that said, “One life. Just one. Why aren’t we running like we are on fire towards our wildest dreams ?” It was like receiving a punch in the face. Why are we doing this to ourselves? I mean, why are we losing time with people who can’t see who we are and aren’t bringing us anything anyway? Why are we losing time over stupid meaningless situations? Why are we staying in resentment? Why are we desperately trying to fix others (even people we barely know)?

Sometimes you need to say “stop.” Sometimes you need to put yourself and your mental health first. Sometimes you need to redefine your priorities. And sometimes you need to get out there and learn to trust people again.

Trusting people after being hurt multiple times (by friends, lovers, or family members) can be tough. Nevertheless, I’ve realized that I can’t let the stories own me anymore. I have to grow from what happened. I can’t let it destroy my present and use it as an excuse to sabotage new relationships. It’s like digging a hole from which you’ll never resurface.

I realize that I need to trust that I can rise from any situation, and from that moment I won’t be afraid to go for anything again. You need to understand that you can handle whatever or whoever comes to you in life. You did it in the past, right? So you will do it again. Life is not a fairytale — shit happens, but you’re strong enough to deal with it.

Something else that I realized is that you undeniably need to accept yourself for who you are: your qualities and flaws. Transform the latter by love and compassion.

You need to keep your promises to yourself first to keep them with others and be trustworthy. Do you feel you need a break from work? Go for a weekend away, don’t turn the opportunity down again just to work a little longer. You want to go see a friend abroad you haven’t seen for a long time? Go for it — just book a flight and go! Be there for them.

Last but not least: take a damn leap of faith and throw yourself into the unknown, no matter how scary it might seem at first. TC mark

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