Friendships have always had a big impact on my life. I’m the oldest on both sides of my family, the oldest cousin, oldest niece, oldest granddaughter and oldest sibling. In my family, I have an awkward age contrast that makes me question where I’m allowed to sit at the dinner table — the adults or the children. With friends, I’m able to connect with peers my own age, something my family doesn’t obtain. If my mom gets the chance, she can tell all sorts of stories. One of her favorites to share is the one where I constantly made friends with children at the playground and it always ended with me begging to have more playdates with them.
Though what most people don’t know is that I struggle with friendship. The relationship I desire most is one of the hardest things I’m able to hold tight to. I’ll start out great with friends, everything’s Pinterest worthy, something I like to call phase one. Friday nights spent at each other’s houses and our phones constantly blow up with funny pictures of us bored in class. Summer days filled with endless fun and VSCO type pictures. Everything feels right in the world. Then, phase two takes hold. We feel bored with one another and our heart yearns to hang out with other people instead. The friendship that seemed flawless begins to show some true colors.
What happens after we long and wish to move on is quite painful. Phase three begins and it’s filled with a lot of fights and unfollows on Instagram. Mine have always drawn out and angry tears sometimes cover my pillow at night from the frustration of a failed friendship. It’s a feeling I never would wish on anyone because it affects your life in many ways, physically and mentally.
In just a span of two years, I’ve gone through heartaches of many cutoff friendships, friendships I was certain could’ve last. I had to walk away from the drama of one that ended with a whole school starting untrue rumors about me. I had to turn my head away from a friendship that continued to lie to my face for months. Then, one of the hardest ones I’ve ever had to let go of broke me down the most and the one that turned me into someone I didn’t recognize anymore.
Looking at my friendships from the outside long enough, there might be an urge to scream at me to just stop and hideaway in the family I don’t always feel comfortable in. Honestly, some days I want to throw the relationships away and just tuck myself into a corner and be alone so I can’t hurt myself or anyone else anymore. Going through broken friendships and having to build a new one from scratch can come with tiredness and hopelessness. Sometimes it takes years to find friends who have a greater impact. For me, it came quite quickly, a seamless transition from one toxic friendship to a healthy one, which is by the grace of God that made it happen so fast.
This past summer felt like one of the greatest summers I’ve experienced, and it wasn’t just the break from school and the nice tan that coated my skin that made it so memorable. It was the people who walked into my life that made the sun-filled days worth it. I like to brag to people about all the camps I worked and the lake days I tanned, but quite truthfully it was a hard summer. I lost a friendship yet again, a friendship of six years. The only reason I’m not a hot mess right now is because of the friends I acquired in the midst of those long three months of feeling broken and worthless. They’ve helped me laugh on the hard days and comforted me with hugs when I haven’t felt my best. They’re the ones I pulled all-nighters with and free fell into a lake hand in hand with.
From all of the unsuccessful friendships I’ve ventured through, I realized we can never give up hope in the fact that there are people out there meant for you. We talk a lot about to stay patient for the soulmate of our dreams, for our prince or princess, when sometimes a few of our soulmates can come from a friendship. The best people who have entered my life come from close relationships with peers. It can take time though, and sometimes we have to trudge through seasons of bad friends to make it through to the good ones. Find the people who can have movie nights and throw popcorn at, the ones who can laugh over the stupidest things, people who can dream and talk life while hammocking. Don’t give up because the result of a good friendship is worth the time in ways that we never could have imagined.