I’ve always hated change, especially when it comes to having to change my friend groups. I went to a public high school where I was on the varsity cheerleading team during freshman and sophomore year; then to a residential high school for junior and senior year where I was the hoodest nerd; then to college where we made the reference “2012 squad” happen. From freshman year until now, one of the hardest lessons I have had to learn is that most of your closest friends will not be there 10 years, five years or maybe even a few months from now.
This past weekend, I broke up with one of my oldest friends. Yes, I said broke up and, no, I’m not referring to a love of any sorts, but a “bffae” — you know, one of the popular childhood acronyms “best friend forever and ever.” Granted, we’d technically been broken up for quite a while but had yet to discuss why. Things had been different ever since we moved out of our joint apartment and, instead of addressing our issues, we just went our separate ways.
Needless to say, when I received a “group text” addressing that friend’s issues with everyone, I was less than amused. In old high school fashion, I used the platform to express my feelings as well. It was not my best moment, but everyone thinks they’re right in these situations, so maturity isn’t always the focus.
Over the years, I’ve witnessed break-ups in the relationships around me as well. People go from being inseparable friends to barely knowing one another. Sad, I know, but true. And, unfortunately, it’s just a part of life. As that now ex-friend put it, some people are only meant to be in your life for a season. The best thing you can do is take the good memories into the future and leave the bad ones in the past.
Considering how many friends, new and old, I tend to spend my Q.C. nights with, I feel like we need to address a few tips on navigating young-adult friendships that are long-term, short-term, professional and beyond. You can thank me later.
Avoid roommate situations with your best friend.
I have lived with best friends by choice four times since I went to high school. For the most part, I still have great relationships with those friends, but in two cases it was not the best decision. It isn’t always because you start hating one another over the dish left in the sink, but little things build up over time.
Work on being honest with one another face to face.
Passive-aggressiveness is alive and well. I’ll be the first to admit I hate confrontations with someone I love. I would much rather send a “group text” or just avoid the situation altogether.
The problem with this approach? Eventually someone is going to blow up and it will probably happen when a few drinks are involved — eek! Talking about issues early on and in an open and honest way can avoid arguments in the future.
Make time for each other.
Sometimes you have to treat your closest friends like you would treat your significant other. Make an effort to spend time with your friends, even if you can’t go out every single night like you used to. Find something to do that will show your friend you miss them. My coworkers get sensitive when we spend more than a week apart, so we’ve spent time at Common Market or trivia at VBGB (not my favorite). Two drinks are never enough, of course, but it usually keeps the attitudes at bay.
Celebrate all victories.
Be as supportive as you can. Even if it’s from a distance, your friend(s) will appreciate it. My friends and I from college (more than 10 of us) have managed to maintain a friendship. Some of us went a full year if not longer without even seeing one another after graduation day. Facebook, Instagram, #tbt (throwback thursdays) and GroupMe have all made it possible. Whether you’re in the same city as your friend or not, a short text saying you miss them, congrats on a new job or accomplishment or good luck will mean the world to them.
Try not to hold grudges.
And say sorry if need be. It’s easier said than done for a Taurus like myself, but you can fix your friendship befovre it’s too late. Whether you think you’re right or not, everyone’s right when they say holding grudges doesn’t make for good vibes. Let it go, even if that means letting that person go, tell Felicia bye — Friday reference — and keep it moving. You’ll feel much better.
Now that we’re no longer in elementary school, developing and keeping friendships is a little more complicated. What have you learned about navigating friendships now that mommy’s not here to tell you to play nice?