Or. Just human. With faults. And we sometimes forget this about them due to our own expectations and models of reality. There’s a saying out there about friends being like seasons, they come and go. When I Googled to find the exact quote, I actually found something that made me smile:
“Friends are like underwear…. Some crawl up your ass… Some snap under pressure… Some don’t have the strength to hold you up… Some get a little twisted… Some are your favourite… Some are cheap and just plain nasty… And some actually do cover your ass when u need them to.” (Unknown quote on searchquotes.com)
I couldn’t have said it better.
We’ve all had good and bad experiences with friends. And lately I’ve been talking to a lot of people whose friendships are going through ‘friend-shifts’. It’s actually happened to me too. And the common denominator was that these friend-shifts happened after one or the other friend’s life changed. Or, the person changed.
Some of us are loyal friends. I know I adore my friends and accept their idiosyncrasies. I can’t always see them as much, because: LIFE (the thing and word that gets all the blame and deserves a blog post later on). And when a friend suddenly turns weird or judgmental, it hurts. You tumble into that immediate inward soul investigation, dissecting all the “why’s” followed by the visceral feels-rollercoaster.
But, if one removes the emotion out of it and take a few steps back, a flashing reminder blinks back at you: we all change. Even if we think we don’t. I like to think most of us evolve, but jeez, some fall into dramatic backslides that leave skid marks on people’s timelines (we’ll focus on the evolving bit though). And as we grow, develop and literally take on new traits from new environments, we’re bound to lose people in our lives. Yet some of us have the ability to love the ‘core’ of a friend’s personality and adapt as they grow. But that also takes a level of maturity and selflessness which is becoming equally scarce in our society, let alone friendships.
Another reminder is that when a friend changes towards you – especially after a big life shift like marriage, career, kids, coming out as LGBTQ, moving to another country, divorce, illness etc. – it’s not always about you. Their loyalty didn’t change towards you, but rather, their loyalty towards what they need from you changed. And that’s not always something within your power to control. You can only control how you react to their role in your friend-shift. And how they react, tells you everything you need to know about that person.
Should we work at maintaining friendships while we grow and evolve? Yes! Having friends is awesome. They can be fun drinking buddies, fellow political commentators, or the close-like-family member you got to choose. People just need to be bit more understanding of each other, because friendships will change. People’s roles in our lives will change. The key is to knowing and loving the core of that person, allowing them to go through their phases of life just like you will, and then meeting each other at life’s pit stops while you freshen up, have a beer, summarize, and take on the next phase.
We need more altruism… And if you look at the meaning it says: “altruism is when we act to promote someone else’s welfare.” It’s the opposite of egoism. And no, you don’t need to be so altruistic that you’re taken advantage of! Not at all. As soon as someone abuses your unselfishness and sucks your energy dry, you don’t just friend-shift, you get the hell outta there.
However, if we can step outside of our ‘precious selves’ more frequently and be aware of our own expectations, I think more friendships will stand the test of time. Friend-shifts will become a team thing as we shift and grow together. Unless that friend becomes a real asshole. Then of course you shift away and allow yourself to attract that underwear-friend willing to cover your ass in this complex world we live in.
Chat/blog/think soon! And remember, all these views are my own 🙂