by Joe Martino
Do you have that one person you were once so close to -and for so long -that you are now basically nothing more than strangers with? Maybe you don’t know exactly what happened, as if things drifted slowly and although there is no “bad blood” things just don’t seem to work anymore. Strangers can become best friends just as easily as best friends can become strangers, it’s odd. But why does it happen?
We Change As People
I know I have experienced this a number of times in my life and maybe you have too. We have friends that we just can never picture ourselves not having close to us. We love them, they bond and connect so well with us, they are there for you and you are there for them. Then one day, as if out of nowhere, you realize they simply aren’t a big part of your life anymore.
You don’t know whether to feel bad or feel like it’s somehow your fault. Maybe you didn’t reach out enough or maybe you did something wrong. But the truth is, if you can’t put a clear cut answer to why, it’s probably simply because paths changed and you simply didn’t connect in the same way. It’s not to say you can’t again or that you are suddenly not friends, but more so that it’s simply not a serving aspect of both of your journey’s to be that close anymore.
I believe that to be entirely okay. There is nothing wrong with having amazing people in your life one day and simply going separate directions not long after. We have to respect each other, our journey’s and where we are going. We cannot judge one another for our choices or because we feel inspired by something else. So often we can talk poorly about those who have drifted as if they didn’t “value” the friendship, but is it really about value? Is it about making something work simply because it was once there? Or is it possible that we can play roles in each others lives for periods of time and move on?
We are beings of change and we can go through changes very quickly. Who we are one day can adjust very quickly and sometimes that means we take different paths in life. This can lead you to new people and ultimately new “best friends.” What I’m trying to say is, if you ever feel guilty or bad about how things may have drifted from close friends of your past, don’t. It’s normal, it happens, it’s okay and if you like, you can communicate with those people about it.
Imagine you and your best friend (or friends from your past) like radio stations. Sometimes, you are all tuned into the same thing and vibing the same way, then, people change and the frequencies of each person change. Suddenly you’re dialed into different stations and they just don’t mesh in the same way. Instead, you now mesh with another person or group of people who are dialed into your station.
This doesn’t mean we can’t remain friends simply because we change, it simply means it happens, and when it does, it’s okay! I have many friends who I don’t see as often but can still call up and connect with very easily. I will always be grateful for those friendships no matter what, but does it mean we will always be super tight? No, and that’s cool.
We Hurt Each Other
Sometimes things can drift because something happens between us. It can be big or it can be small. These are the types of “splits” where we ask ourselves: “are we simply not friends because we are unable to move past a disagreement?” Many times we can still very much be dialed into that same station with another person, yet someone peeved the other one off and no one wants to give in. This is where we can really just take advantage of a great opportunity to learn a lot about facing ourselves and communication.
This type of situation is one that is just so tough to see. We spend so much time holding grudges and holding onto toxic feelings and judgments because we can’t just make peace with what may have happened. Deep down, we all seem to want to have these people back in our lives but at some point, we simply don’t know how to make it happen anymore. Either we are too scared to be the one to call them first or we just don’t even know what to say.
If we let it go long enough, we can completely “get over” what happened, but still have no clue how to rekindle that friendship because we don’t know how it will look. Funny thing is, I’ve seen so many examples of accidental meetings in these cases where the two friends hit it off like no tomorrow. Imagine if one were to have just called the other years ago?
What You Can Take From This
Two things I want to focus on: the idea of regret and taking some action.
I had a best friend who began getting into drugs and that was hard for me because I was never into that and didn’t want to see my close friend do that either. Eventually I slowly drifted. Later on I felt guilty because I thought that if I had stuck around maybe he wouldn’t have gone so far with it. I blamed myself for a while and felt terrible, but I couldn’t blame myself forever. It was my journey and his journey. Sure, maybe I could have done more, but I did what I knew I could do at the time.
What I learned from that is that holding onto the regret didn’t serve me. I was simply blaming myself for something that I simply had to respect: we had different paths and sometimes we don’t fully understand them. I also learned that I could go the extra mile to be there for people if they are open to it. Now I’m there for friends, family and even ‘strangers’ as much as I can be as I feel that connection and value to offer that. It’s something we can all do and are capable of.
Finally, take some action today if you find yourself relating to these situations. Do you have a friend you feel dialed into still but maybe some “falling out” happened and you don’t know how to address it? Call them up. Reach out. If you were going to leave the planet tomorrow, would you want to see them one last time or connect with them? If so, take the step to reach out. You’ll be surprised with how it goes.
If regret or confusion about a situation is what you feel, you have a couple options. Either you can talk to the person openly about it and find out, or you can journal some things out to yourself. Don’t be afraid to explore it as you will learn a lot about yourself and even the other person. A lot of times it helps if you put yourself in their shoes too so you can understand how they might feel. Remember, accept and respect where things have ended up, you can’t control everything and the past is the past. You can only do what you can do NOW.