Addressing the reality we often want to ignore.

riendships are important to everyone. Those who are dearest to us also mean a lot to us. Without giving it much thought, our small (or large) community of comrades are among the most special of all relationships in our lives.

But sometimes, that doesn’t mean everything is perfect. There are often tough decisions that have to be made that someone doesn’t like. A battle of opinions emerges before colliding into one another. 

Proximity becomes a problem for some of us. Life happens, and opportunities arise every once in a while that cause for immediate attention.

In those moments, we can either choose to be good friends or give up on the relationship altogether.

Never a GoodBye

True friends never say goodbye. They go their separate ways for reasons known by them, but they know they’ll see each other again. Life has its way of pulling us in all sorts directions.

Without question, relationships are affected when a person leaves.

There’s no denying that. But the reality is friends don’t stay cuddled up next to each other forever. Someone moves away, gets married, or accepts an opportunity at some point or another.

So what do you when that happens? End the friendship? Chances are, our expectations were off from the beginning. 

This is what happened to me when my best friend met the love of his life. We always talked about how funny it would be for him to meet someone and get married. Picturing him with kids never gets old to me.

But what I left out was the chances of him moving away from our common hang-out spots. I wasn’t expecting the heaviness that would come later.

Not being able to hang out and watch the game on Sundays, talk about life, or crack jokes were all in the past now.

Proximity Shouldn’t Be the Issue

The issue arises when we associate the implication of friends leaving one another in a negative light. We’re not used to this happening without something bad causing it and having them disappear forever. That’s how the story normally goes, right?

Like those friends in high school you were once close to but now barely remember their names. You went your separate ways, never to see each other again. To that, I would pose a question.

Were you ever really friends?

When you think about it, friends don’t stop being friends. Even when they part ways and plant themselves in a different state, they’re always connected in some way. Most of the time, though, we want to hold onto them and refuse to let them go.

And when we do, we assume the worst. Sure, it’s sad to see a friend move far away. It’s sad to hear the news that they’ve accepted a solid job in a land not even close to home. But sometimes, that’s just the way it is.

Everything that seems bad to us in life doesn’t mean it is.

Most of the time, the cup remains half empty instead of half full in our minds. And we respond that way. I know I did.

My first thought was, “How could you throw a good friendship away like that?” But he wasn’t throwing anything away in reality.

The problem was I was only thinking about myself. I didn’t even take time to consider his situation. He was about to get married to the love of his life. Who was I to get in the way of that?

This is what changed the perspective for me. When I took a few steps back and analyzed the beauty of the situation, I felt great about what was happening. We don’t do that enough. Most of the time, we’re thinking about ourselves.

Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

The Need for Self-Awareness

Now, I’m not saying that you should completely forget about yourself and your feeling about what’s going on. Suppressing how you really feel is unhealthy is multiple ways. 

Self-care is important. I’m not minimizing that at all. However, you should re-examine your feelings about an issue like this thoroughly.

Sometimes we can become so overwhelmed with how we feel in the moment that we react rashly, without carefully understanding the situation.

Losing a so-called friend is one thing. Losing a good friend because you jumped to conclusions and overreacted is another.

In the end, the long-held friendship we had didn’t diminish. It didn’t cease from meaning just as much as it did before, regardless of how far he was from home. And it took me a while to deal with that.

Distance shouldn’t cut the chords cherished for so long. I’m convinced they should become even stronger as a result. 

The point is not that it’s easy to settle with this idea. The point is that settling with this idea makes it easier to deal with. And, after the dust settles within, you’ll discover that were never losing a friend at all. Because real friends never leave, even when they do.

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