Friends – it’s a funny one because the definition of a friend is “A person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection”, well according to the Oxford dictionary anyway. The good thing about this definition being that it allows a wide variety of possibilities of different friendships as long as there is that mutual affection.
Often however, at least for me, I have found it difficult to allow there to be a time limit on friends. Surely once you are friends with someone you are friends for life right? Well that was my idealistic vision of friendship back when I was a teenager, hoping that my group of friends would go through life together. We would see each other through relationships, marriages, kids and any hardships. Unfortunately that isn’t always how things go.
Thanks to the definition allowing for such a wide variety of possibilities and also thanks to the advances in technology there has been a shift in the traditional friendship. We can be friends with someone through face to face contact as well as through our computer screens and all our other forms of social media we possess. You can have a best friend you have had since school as well as loyal followers on your social media you class as friends and people you class as friends but only for specific situations i.e. you might only see them for nights out but not see them for coffee to talk through a difficult life decision one of you has to make.
More often that not I feel I am sometimes let down by my friends but maybe I need to manage my expectations better. I also feel I take it personally if a friendship with someone was to end, not in a bad way, just through simple growing apart that tends to happen as you get older.
This makes me question out of all my friends who will be there in a year, 5 years, 10 years or even 30 years?
The answer – possibly none of them but that’s ok!
It’s a lovely idea to think that your friends will be there forever but the strong likelihood is they won’t be or at least not in the way you always planned. I never planned for one of my best friends from school to move to Luxembourg so we had to adapt our friendship to a new dynamic and although we don’t speak much I still class her as a close friend that I want to be happy.
One of my best friends from when I was 19 I barely ever speak to now and yet it oddly feels like nothing is different. When we speak it is still as ridiculous as it was years ago and I still manage to wind him up easily enough.
In the same way I ended up gaining people I absolutely adore without even trying for it. I gained my best friend through a message about how I was planning on making my way to university. That led to an agreement to go in together for moral support and now we are each other’s constant shoulders to cry on. I gained basically a second family through the job I had at university and despite the changes we have all went through since all leaving that job I still feel like we are all a team even now. You really cannot plan things and so I think I have learnt that to keep the people I want in my life it is about accepting that your best friend today might not be there in 30 years in the way they are now but if you can still pick up the phone when you need the most I would count that as a win.
The advances in technology make it possible for us all to hide behind screens rather than actively go out and meet people and that can work for some and not for others. It brings up the question of if you can truly build a proper friendship through a screen. In today’s world I would say yes because those in the younger generation don’t really know any different so they will adapt their expectations and views on friendships to fit what they know.
Personally I love that technology allows me to keep up-to-date with my friends at any time but I still love being able to see them face to face because I still believe that is where you truly build up that care for one another. Nothing beats a hug when you feel down or laughing with your friends all sitting together.
Often I question whether my friends will be there if a lot of time has passed or if I have maybe been let down but ultimately I believe they will be there in some form and that will be something you accept because friendships are always changing and adapting. As long as effort is made on both sides and we remain realistic then I am sure everyone will get what they want out of their friendships.