July 20, 2024

Friendships Can Be Seasonal, Just Like Our Romantic Relationships

Sometimes it happens overnight – and you can’t believe it’s over that quick. Sometimes it unravels slowly, after a few missed coffee catch ups or a slightly uninspiring meet up at the pub. Sometimes you can see it coming a mile off, like the pressure from a thunderstorm.

Whichever way a friendship ends, or changes course, it can be a painful, disorientating experience. Experts have even commented that a friendship break up can be just as difficult, sometimes more, to deal with than a romantic relationship ending.

One big reason for this is that we haven’t been given the right language, or perspective, to look at our friendships with when they are coming to an end or changing.

Over the years, when friendships have faltered or failed, I’ve found it so easy to blame my own perceived shortcomings for things not working out. Was I too absent? Was I selfish with my time? Was my approach to friendship too intense? Basically: why has this person left me?

But as my twenties come to a close, I’ve found myself looking at things, particularly my friendships, differently. Many of those that ended, I realised, were rather “seasonal” in nature. They were attached to a part of my life – be it a city, a job, or a post-break up emotional spiral – that perhaps I’ve left behind. So it would make sense for the friendship to expire – or even evolve – as life moves on, and a new season begins.

Just like our romantic partners, our friends come into our lives and bring us love, memories and, if we’re lucky, they teach us important lessons about ourselves. But that doesn’t mean that these people are destined – or even obligated – to stick around until your final days.

We haven’t been given the right language, or perspective, to look at our friendships with when they are coming to an end.

The fact that we expect this is largely down to the “best friend forever” myth that we are fed from our childhood years, according to author and journalist Claire Cohen, who has recently written a book on the subject: BFF? : The Truth about Female Friendship.

“From the earliest age, we are taught that our friendships should last forever. That having a BFF – a soulmate who always has your back – is the pinnacle of friendship, particularly for women,” she tells me.

“While some women do maintain childhood best friends throughout their lives, for many of us it’s not achievable, and sets us up for disappointment. It’s a myth that many of us unwittingly carry through into our adult friendships, and it creates a harmful narrative around the levels of perfection we should expect from our friends. ”

Some of my closest friends have been with me since school, some I met a handful of years ago at random house parties. Every friendship – and its expiration date, if it has one – is different.

Meanwhile, partners in crime that I once couldn’t imagine going a day without speaking to have faded into the obscurity of my Facebook timeline – sporadically checked up on when I’m bored, a random like given here or there, a mere shadow of the connection we once had.

Other friendships have ended – or been derailed, at least – with passive aggressive (sometimes just aggressive) WhatsApp messages, or a disagreement on a night out. What I’ve learned is to try not to view any of these events as failures – more the ending of a season. I feel gratitude for every single one of these friendships, and what they brought to my life at that time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *