I was talking to my boyfriend last night about old friendship and how they end.
The friends I have now are not the friends I had 15 years ago (mostly). I do have one friend I have had since I can remember. My oldest friend. We went to the same nursery, same primary school then different high schools. But we remain close when we see one another.
There are some friends that I made in high school that I don’t speak to anymore, not because of some massive fallout but because we just moved on and grew apart. It’s strange though when you think about it, I can’t remember our last conversation. Or our last sleepover. I can’t remember knowing I wouldn’t speak to them again. One person or a group of people can be so much a part of your life and then suddenly they’re not. I don’t feel there’s ever been a conversation like that in my life. A conversation of total openness to the fact that this is it. I have never once sat down with a friend and said this is going to be our last conversation. It’s sad really. You look back at old photographs with a person you were so close to, yet you don’t remember much about that person anymore. Even who you were back then. Time moves us on but sometimes it’s nice to reminisce. To think about times when you were friends with that person and you felt so loved. You laughed about things that no one else would understand. You’d watch films together and stay up all night. But then you didn’t anymore. I wish I could remember the last time I spoke to some of the people I used to be friends with. Just to be able to hold on to that moment again. Old friendships are important because they have or did shape you as a person. But they have become somewhat strangers now and as sad as it is to lose a friend, it’s an important part of growing up and figuring out who you really are. I am a very different person to who I was at the age of 11, as I’m sure everyone is. So the friendships you build later on in life bare more relevance to the person you are now. But old friendships have a sense of familiarity.
When I was maybe 13/14 I found another group of girls that I am still close to now. We are very different. But I think that’s why it has worked for a long time. Our differences give us things to talk about. We can go months without seeing each other as a group and we don’t talk all the time but it works for us. Even though we have all changed and grown up together and apart, we are still friends.
Going to university I had a chosen family in my boyfriends housemates. Visiting him in his first year and then joining him in his second year, I had made firm friends with them. These people were more similar to the person I was at that time. I had matured a lot since high school and they fitted that.
A girl from my first year halls and a girl who put up a Facebook advert about needing 2 housemates to join her in second year, quickly became my best friends. I say quickly, but it took the first girl almost a year to warm up to me and the other girl I really wasn’t sure about at first. However after spending like 5 hours talking to the first girl one night about how similar we were, that was it. And once I had lived with the second girl for a few months I realised she was also a keeper.
A survey done in 2017 suggested that the average Brit has 40 friends in adulthood. This number includes different levels of friendships, everything from best friends to work colleagues. I personally can’t think of 40 people I would call my friends.
I have never been a person that has wanted loads of friends or a person that wanted everyone to like them. If they weren’t bothered by me, I wouldn’t try too hard to fight for it. I cherish the friendships I have. I am very protective over my friends and I don’t feel like I let a lot of people in.
The older I get the more accepting I am about people drifting apart. It’s not normally ever anyone’s fault but it’s important to accept that people do drift apart and friendships do end. Friendships should never feel like a chore. If you’re not making an effort and if they’re not then that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be a dramatic ending to a book, it can just be a seamless, mutual ending of a chapter.
I am very lucky to have the friendships I do; whether I’ve met them at work, or school or university. And I am grateful for the friends I no longer have as I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them.