Every Easter, I have a friend that shows up on my doorstep with an Easter egg for me. It’s an act that always brings me so much joy and true to her nature, she was on my doorstep this year with an Easter egg just for me. I have been friends with this person for years now – and as we sat and had a chat in my home, it dawned on me that our friendship had evolved. In my post last week, I wrote about going through a period of growth and one area I have been paying attention to is the area of friendships. It dawned on me that the focus is always on the friendships we leave behind when we grow but we do not pay enough attention to the friendships that grown with us. As I sat with my friend and talked about what I would be writing about and all the stuff we had been up to, the topic I wanted to write about changed and I started focusing on what had evolved and grown in my friendships as well as what I had to let go.
My favourite animal has always been the butterfly – though I find so much beauty in other animals, I have always been drawn to the butterfly. For me, the transformational life cycle of a butterfly has always been one that fascinates me immensely and though metamorphosis happens in other animals, I particularly love the beauty in the colourful designs of adult butterflies. Been thinking about my friendships lately and I must admit that I felt I had outgrown a lot of my connections and some simply had no place in my life, especially when I thought about the person I was becoming. However, after my dear friend visited, I realised that I needed to focus on the friendships that were still relevant in my life in my growth journey. My friendships had gone through several metamorphosis – some did not make it out of the pupa stage and the ones that did evolved to beautiful connections I enjoyed.
I keep reading, talking and writing about growth – however, I don’t think I look at the role healing from past traumas play in growth and in how we relate to others. We can never be good friends to others if we do not know how to be friends to ourselves – this is something I am learning to do everyday. When two or more people come together to form friendships/relationships, we must always remember that people are coming with all their qualities as well as traumas. I think many people, myself included, have deluded ourselves to think that friendships should not end. It’s like the promises we make with our first besties that we will be friends forever – over the years, I have seen many businesses make money from friendship bracelets and other merchandise to give this false sense of friendships lasting forever. However, like most things, friendships have the potential to evolve, stagnate or end. And when most people look at growth, it seems the focus is mostly on old friendships dying – because that mostly seems to be the case. However, today, I noticed how my own friendship had evolved and were still relevant in this stage of my growth.
A quote I come across often is by S.E. Hinton and it says “If you have two friends in your lifetime, you’re lucky. If you have one good friend, you’re more than lucky”. I never gave this quote much thought, however, I asked myself recently how one can consistently keep one friend through their life time? Every stage of life comes with it’s challenges and growth – we are never the same the person as we evolve through the different stages of our life. So how do we grow and become differnet versions of ourselves while maintaining the same friendships? In some instances, I felt it was not possible – in my own friendships, I had seen connections broken due to people no longer being on the same page in their journeys or no longer finding purpose and joy in certain friendships. Just like the butterfly’s life cycle, I have gone through the egg stage in life where I had needed friendships that protected me and then on to the larva stage where I needed information to help guide me to where I needed to be. Then there were the pupa stages where much was not happening outwardly and I would not be very active in my friendships – I was going through transformation. Then comes the place of being tranformed and I needed friends who would not try to clip my wings but were happy to see me spread my wings and fly – and I have needed to be the same in the lives of my others.
One is truly lucky if they can find a friend who can fit into every stage of their growth – however, sometimes, some friensdships lay dormant until the next stage of our growth, and that is very ok. My take away from all these musings of the different changes we go through and how it affects our friendships is to bear the following in mind when deciding to keep or end a friendship;
Respect – I have been in situations where something that hurt me deeply was used to shame me when I spoke up for what I believed in. It broke me – because I did not think it could ever happen in that friendship. I had to end that friendship, nothing could convince me to stay in it – there was no going back for me. When I holistically looked at the friendship, I had constantly disrespected my self and my boundaries to accomodate this friendship. It was only when I started to live consciously that I finally realised what I had been putting up with. From that moment, I promised myself to never compromise my respect and self esteem for friendship with anyone. Also, I needed to make sure that I showed respect in me dealings with others – it is always a two way street.
Reciprocity – For many years, my dear friend had been bringing me Easter eggs and I did not remember ever doing the same for her. I felt ashamed when I realised this! It was not about the Easter egg, it was the thought – so this year, I made a conscious decision to get her one. Friendship should never be one sided – my therapist from years ago drew my attention to this. If you ever find yourself constantly giving, then perhaps you need to look at the health of your friendship and the same goes for the people who are constantly receiving.
Communicate – Ghosting is very common when friendships end. I like to tell myself when I ghost someone that I had had enough and decided to walk, but to be honest, I have been living in fight and flight mode for a very long time and I sometimes am not very good at communication when I am hurt or triggered. Plus there is this fear of how people would react – so we have whole conversations in our heads when things go wrong and speak for people without every hearing a word from them! When people we are friends with go quiet, we should reach out and find out why and if they choose to not say anything, we should respect them and allow them to be. If they truly want to, they will eventually communicate and if they do not want to, then we would also know. I now understand that no communication is also communication and as hard as it is most times, we must learn to listen, even to the silent words that may never be spoken.
Acceptance – We should learn to accept people as they are and most importantly, we must learn to accept ourselves. For me, this is one issue that ends relationships – as I have gone through several stages of growth, I find that I no longer fit into certain friendships anymore and instead of accepting that the friendships have run it’s course, I find myself trying to bring people to where I am. Life does not work like that and we all grow at our own rates – plus, someone’s growth may not be the same as mine. So as well as accepting people as they are, we should also learn to accept when we no longer fit into our friendships and they end – it is ok for some friendships to end.
Life is not static and I believe the same can be said for friendships – as we evolve so does our friendships. The notion that our friendships would last forever is one we should stop teaching our children. We should teach our children and ourselves that friendships evolve and sometimes that may mean friendships becoming stronger or ending. It is great when our friendships evolve and we get to know different versions of the people we love – we share life and go through happy and challenging times together and that bonds us even more. However, on the other side, friendships do end too and sometimes it ends on people falling out – it’s all part of life and we must learn to accept this without vilifying anyone. It is hard when friendships end and in some cases we may be angry, feel betrayed or hurt – they are all valid feelings to have. I once listened to a preacher speak about people leaving our lives and he made some fantastics statements that got people in his congregation fired up – but what he forgot to touch on was the reasons people left others. When others walk out of our lives, we need to look inward as well and take the opportunity to self reflect and grow.
Thank you for always taking the time to read, comment and share your experiences – lets continue to effect the change we need by sharing our experiences.
6 thoughts on “Are your friendships evolving?”
This is something that’s been on my radar lately, friendship and especially on reciprocity when it comes to communication-as we grow and take up different roles and work, there’s always going to be a moment where we get that missed call or see a text from a friend but never respond- and this makes it easy for a friendship to simmer down or just come to an end due to prolonged periods of no communication.
I love this post, it’s given me some perspective.
Thank you, Koya.
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Thank you for taking time to read and add your voice to the topic. 😊
You’re a very kind and thoughtful person, this always come across in your writing. I think anyone can see that.
I’m 100% sure that your friend never expected an Easter egg in return, friendship isn’t always about giving the same things in return and you no doubt give back to all of your friends in other ways that mean the most to them.
I know I really appreciate a listening ear, that’s non judgemental and understanding when I’m not being so rational and my friend gives me exactly that, exactly when I need that…along with lots of laughter 🙂
A very raw and honest piece of writing, that I think we can all relate to. Why do we force friendships/relationships to work in a certain way?! Why can’t we just let them spawn organically into the beautiful dysfunctional ways that they do? 🙂
Fab work Koya (aka the butterfly) x
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😘 thank you friend.
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