On the 1st of January every year my phone is always flooded with happy new year text messages from friends. I believe you also do receive tons of such messages! Some of these messages are from friends that I rarely talk to.
This year I was going through the messages and trying to remember when I made friends with some of these people with whom I once had a connection. Some of them are former colleagues, some are army wives, some are church friends, some from childhood, some are friends from school, the list goes on.
As I sat putting these friends into “categories” I recalled what Aristotle, the great Greek Philosopher’s friendship categories, the friendship of utility, the friendship of pleasure, and the virtuous friendship. his theory echoes with the phrase “A friend for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.”
One of the challenges of growing older is no doubt one’s ability to find and keep quality and lasting friendships. It is said that the older we become the more friendships tend to fade away or become less of a priority. This left me wondering, can a friendship last a lifetime?
Being an army wife makes this more complicated, as with every move, I question whether am going to be able to find friends that are just as amazing as our last posting, or how many people will keep in contact with me and vice versa.
Even in the era of social media, maintaining actual friendships regardless of where one lives can be very difficult. Will they really “keep in touch” or visit as they promised?
I read an article on Psychology Today, it was about participants stating the reasons why friendships end. The main factor was selfishness i.e., those who looked after their own interest, those who were not supportive of them, those who were dishonest, and those who were taking without giving.
Secondly, participants noted that they would terminate a friendship based on distance, a lack of time, and having no common interests.
Over the years, I have met and bonded with some amazing people, and I genuinely thought the friendships will last forever, but they didn’t! Did I overvalue the friendship?
I have come to learn that sometimes, your once closest friend may not hold up beneath the test of time, simply because people change, circumstances change, and interests also change.
Some friends might find a replacement for the void created by your physical absence. I, therefore, echo the sentiment that there are friends that come into your life for a reason, some for a season and some for a lifetime.
We have all had a friend for a reason at a point in time in our lives. These are friends who come into our lives for a specific reason to assist us or help us through difficulty. This could be physical, emotional, or spiritual help.
Then out of the blue, without any tangible reason, wrongdoing on your part or the person’s part the friendship ends. Communication ceased, no matter how much you try they don’t respond and the friendship fades. These friends will either change you, teach you lessons, or better your life.
Sometimes some of these friends may even come into your life to use you and when they longer value you, they dump you. I used to get upset when a friendship ends, but when I think of the friendship in retrospect and I conclude it was a friend for a reason, I just let it go and rather count the blessings they brought into my life at that time.
Then there is a friend for a season. Just as seasons begin and end quickly so are these types of friendships.
There are friends you make when you move to a new place, meet on school runs, friends you make at work, but as soon as you move on from that place, school, firm, you cease to be friends. The friendship ends naturally for a lack of constant contact.
That is so true because the more you see someone, the more you become closer, so when distance comes to play that friendship might end. These are good friends too, because they help you grow and learn, they teach you something you never knew, but only lasts for a season.
I made some good friends at university, especially my course mates, we all helped each other throughout the course, however we are no longer close. Sometimes I do reminiscence about some former work colleagues, and it puts a smile on my face, because they provided a good working environment.
Remember that every season has a purpose and brings something new to our lives, so are these friends when we met them and when the season is over there is nothing, we can do about it.
Last and not least is a friend for a lifetime. They are your true friends, they are rare. A friend for life is the friend that grows with you.
As humans we grow and change throughout our lives, we are not the same as when we were kids. A lifetime friend is a friend who loves you for who you are, and you do the same for them.
Distance is not an issue for Lifetime friends. Most importantly friendship is not a one-way friendship. You are supportive and loyal to each other; you don’t abandon each other when a disagreement comes or when one is going through a difficult situation.
Both of you are dedicated to maintaining the relationship no matter the distance or circumstances. They are your biggest cheerleaders, but not afraid to tell you when you are wrong. They are in for a long haul.
It is said that “love is blind, but friendship is clairvoyant.” Yes, I do have lifetime friends and they are so important to me. We do not talk every day, but when we talk it is like a therapy session, we talk about everything, they offer the listening ear, they encourage me, they tell me when I am wrong and most importantly, they make me laugh.
We all wish, when we make friends, it will be forever, unfortunately, it will not always happen that way. There is always something valuable that anyone that crosses your path brings to your life, some come into our lives to care for us, some bring their expertise, some are always there for us no matter what, some let us see beyond our desires.
So, when friendships drift apart or end, let’s look at them in a different light. Rather than feel sorry, regret, or try to hold on too much, we can look at what we brought each other.
We can acknowledge the wonderful times, the reasons why we were good together for a period and why it’s now acceptable to move on. Whether for a season, reason, or lifetime value each relationship for what it is or what it was, embrace the experience they bring to your life.