People are social by nature.
We’ve developed societies due to our ability to communicate. It’s no surprise that we seek each other for comfort. Our complex relationships with one another are what make humanity into what it is today.
As kids, we gravitated towards those our age. We had few requirements. A simple, “Do you want to play?” was all it took. Yet as we got older, those nameless strangers we once met at a McDonald’s PlayPlace evolved into nothing more than intricate short-term connections. Whether it’s individuals we meet when awkwardly exchanging contact information on the first day of class, or girls we drunkenly befriend when standing in restroom lines, making friends while “adulting,” might be the easy part. Keeping them, well, that requires some effort.
The older we get, the less available we become. Responsibilities, jobs, spouses and children regulate our decisions. We are no longer searching for activities to occupy our time, we are trying to find a break! (A nap would be nice too.) Friends allow us to fill the void between strangers and our family members. At times, we are drawn to those we identify with the most. Those we share a similar lifestyle, occupation and schedule will fulfill our immediate circle.
Upon graduating high school, I was the only person in my group who joined the military. While away I was unplugged from the rest of the world. A few stayed in touch through handwritten letters; my only form of communication. Very early on I realized how conflicting my newfound lifestyle was with my friendships. Was I no longer relevant because I wasn’t physically present? Were we even REAL friends? It lead me to believe I was the problem, creating resentment towards those I lost contact with along the way.
Thinking back, it was selfish of me to think I was the only one “adulting.” I was blinded by my own agenda that I failed to think of everyone else’s responsibilities too. Our contradicting schedules dictated our circles. The fact that they could no longer relate to my struggle made me feel as if I no longer belonged in theirs.
As adults we have to learn to embrace diversity.
Not only should we be celebrating each other’s successes but committing to uplift one another through hardships. One-sided friendships do not last as we mature. A little effort goes a long way.
When I was deployed overseas we received few packages. Yet an envelope addressed in my name was never missing from the bi-weekly mail call stack. Those college-ruled pages were my only euphoria when sand was plastered on my face for 12-hours. Life does not stop for anyone, including your surroundings. It is up to us to decide what’s worth keeping.
After my time in the service, I returned to Houston. Isolation came quick with those I was once close to. While working a part-time job, I met a young woman with whom I connected with instantly. Our friendship quickly blossomed through laughs, lattes and occasionally, frozen mojitos. Our hangouts became routine but we never held each other accountable for missed dates. We would go weeks without talking. Yet we never allowed neither time nor distance to rule our friendship.
There are no manuals for friendship.
Naturally, we all need someone that won’t judge our stories about Marsha from Accounting or who will listen to us complain about how Kroger never has the smaller carts when we shop. It’s the spontaneous drunken moments as well as the support behind life-changing events. It’s never about how many times they showed up in your snapchats, or liked your posts but rather, acknowledging their unique role in our individual lives.