I know I’m lucky. Five of my best friends from childhood live within 5 minutes of me in the city. Most of us have been friends for 17 years (wow, that number scares me). I’m not going to lie and say it’s been easy for all of us to remain friends.
We all split up for 4 years of college, sometimes had sporadic contact, and occasionally went months without talking to each other.
Even now, living so close, sometimes a month or two will go by and we’ll realize we haven’t hung out. We’ve all grown into much different people than we were as kids, and if we met today, we wouldn’t necessarily all be the best of friends. But we grew up together and have enough in common that we’ve chosen to remain friends.
Key phrase: We grew up together.
In addition to my close childhood friends, I’ve collected friends from college and from post-college as well. These people didn’t know me as I was learning my multiplication tables, but they got to know me as a person much more like the one I am today. They chose to be friends with me, and not the childhood version of me.
I sometimes think about those friends from my past that I didn’t keep in touch with. Those girls I once referred to as my best friends. One in particular, I was best friends with from kindergarten all the way to 10th grade, when we slowly started drifting apart. We had sporadic contact in college, as in, “Oh my God, we so totally need to hang out!!” but of course we never did. Sometimes I get seriously sad thinking that someone who once knew me better than anyone else has no idea about what I’m like now. Sometimes I wonder why we let our friendship go when we had so much history together.
However, through the powers of the higher beings (AKA Facebook), I am still able to get a little glimpse into her life and see just what she’s doing. And thus I have discovered, ways that my best childhood friend is different than me:
1) She hasn’t yet finished college and has transferred schools 4 times
2) She still lives with her parents
3) She’s dating a new guy every week
4) She has a new group of “best friends” every week
5) She still dyes her hair a different color every other month and fake bakes constantly
6) She’s still calling herself fat and constantly seeking attention and reassurance from others
And from my occasional check-ins, I see that I have absolutely no desire to be friends with this girl from my past. Screw history. The present is way more important than any history you have with someone. I sincerely feel that while I have grown up, my best childhood friend has remained in the same place since high school.
Saying goodbye to a friendship is never easy, but holding on can be even tougher. There’s no rule that says just because you’ve been friends with someone since second grade, you need to remain friends with them forever. In fact, because you’re constantly growing and changing as a person, you probably shouldn’t be friends with the same people you’ve been friends with all your life.
If your friends aren’t growing up with you, or if they’re growing in completely different directions, maybe it’s time to call it quits. People change, and that’s a good thing. Look for the people you have things in common with, people you have fun with. And stop feeling so much pressure to keep old, dying friendships alive.
But if you really feel the need to keep in touch, there’s always Facebook.