I adore meeting new people and hearing about their past achievements, what they’re loving right now and what their goals are for the future. I enjoy giving time, energy and love to people that inspire me. I love investing in new people and new friendships, because some people are simply incredible.
At the same time, it can be difficult coming to the realisation that a friendship you were invested in is not going to continue.
I experienced this around half way through my first year of university, and I want to discuss the lessons I learned from it.
I had become incredibly close with two girls on my course – we would stay up all night chatting about everything and anything over hot chocolates and cookies. We organised special birthday treats for each other. Our group chat pretty much received more messages daily than Twitter receives tweets. We would be there for each other in an instant, getting a 3AM Uber within seconds of receiving a text that someone felt low, making sure to bring excessive instant-lattes and chicken nuggets and from our favourite chip shop, if necessary.
As second term approached, one member of our little girl power trio decided not to continue at our university. Whilst this was a shock to my other best-uni-friend and to me, we knew that she wouldn’t have made the decision if she didn’t 100% feel that it was the best thing for her.
Before we knew it, she’d moved out of the city. We were no longer spending every other evening walking down the side street that leads to her building and the constant stream of iMessages suddenly slowed to a halt. Our friend stopped texting us not out of spite, but simply because she was too busy building a brand new life in a brand new city.
Our new term began and I found myself continuing as before, continuing to study the course I love, meeting a range of new, inspiring people along the way. It was odd to hang out as a duo after each lecture, but it’s not like the connection between my other friend and I had changed. I talked to her about all the exciting opportunities our university was offering us, and how great and adventure it is to be on together.
She found things more difficult.
After opening up to the girl who’d dropped out, she struggled to cope with the fact that she wouldn’t be able to maintain the same level of intimacy and depth in their friendship anymore. She was devastated that the friendship we would have built with this girl over the course of our degree was no longer going to be possible, and that she’d spent three months investing in a friendship that ended so abruptly.
I didn’t understand this. I remember very distinctly when I sat down with her, wiping her tears, saying ‘This is just what happens. Not every friendship is going to last forever. You click with someone and then something comes up’. Looking back, that definitely wasn’t helpful. I guess I hadn’t quite worked it out either.
In hindsight, I’ve reached a better way that I should have phrased it (I know – bit late, Nati). I’ve come to the conclusion that some friendships are only meant to last for a minute (well, a very short space of time). You’re meant to meet different people at different times in your life, and those times are when you both need that connection. You both build on that friendship as individuals and find yourselves moving forward in different directions. You might have less in common, you might want different things, but you were there for each other when you needed it most. When that friendship comes to an end, so to does that chapter of your life, and that’s okay.
Turn the page and get ready to start fresh, because maybe your next friendship will last forever. And that’s pretty exciting.
I found Lily Pebbles’ The F Word so lovely and therapeutic to read as a way of making sense of the weird and wonderful world of female friendship, and I’d highly recommend it – in fact, I wrote a review on it here.
The guys at the chip-shop must really miss the group of giggling girls who wanted as many chicken nuggets and sachets of BBQ sauce they could get for £5.
Yeah, I doubt it too.
featured image: Woke Brown Fem
illustrations: Tyler Feder