After some prolonged moments of pensive thought, I’ve arrived at a conclusion very different from where I started: ‘friends forever’ is a lie. Or a half-truth, if lie is too harsh a word.
The other day, I was reading through this autobiography we had to make for school. At the front, one of our parents was asked to write a foreword, and in the back are messages from our friends. In mine, there are about 7 messages, most of them saying something nice and ending with “Cathy will always be my best friend!” or “I know Cathy and I will stay friends forever!” While the sentiments are appreciated, and I’m sure at the time they were true to some extent, I’ve learned that those sentiments don’t last long. One reason being that you never stay the same as you were at the age of 13. Some lucky people grow together – from childhood to adulthood, from their teenage years to their old age. Those people are indeed truly lucky – to have someone who knows them so well, and knows their past. To have someone they can always lean on, and run to, and call in the middle of the night – that friend who’ll be around, always. Forever.
I’ve definitely had my fair share of ‘best friends’, but they moved on. They grew up, matured, in a different direction, and I suppose for most, that’s inevitable. That definitely didn’t make it less hard, however. And ever since, I’ve proclaimed my feelings on the topic loudly for all to hear: I don’t feel the need for a best friend, I’m content with many close friends. But I think I was kidding myself, really. That feeling of being needed by someone else, of being able to tell another person everything – it’s the friendship equivalent of a long-term relationship, I guess. It’s a great feeling, and that feeling of consistency definitely eases the mind. It’s fairly sad that I don’t feel I have ‘another half’, per se; almost all of my other friends will be graduating this year with one other person to share it with – hey, some even have two people they consider their best friend, their closest confidante, etc. But me? Well, I think my post-graduation plans speak for themselves: finding myself on the fringes once again, I’m travelling alone.
It has meant I’m at peace with being on my own, though. Sometimes, I’ll talk feelings out to others, but mostly I just feel like a burden. I try to work through things by writing them out; writing forces me to organise my thoughts enough so that there’s a structure to them, and it helps. But I digress – what I’m trying to say is, that at least from personal experience, I’ve lost my faith in the belief that friendships last forever. Both past and recent experience have conditioned me to almost keep people at a distance – you let a friend get to know you too well, and you’re vulnerable to pain later on. You’re friends with someone for years, and a tiny issue can spiral out of control and destroy everything you’ve been building up over years of friendship, and it’s awful. It’s an obvious defence mechanism on my part, however – some friendships are definitely worth being that open with someone. And I’ve most likely got friends like that now who deserve that level of honesty, but my self-consciousness always gets in the way; I fear I’m a burden, or that I’m annoying, or a manic-depressive nuisance, or all of the above all at once.
I’m not quite sure that I arrived at the point I was attempting to make to begin with. I think my stance changed halfway through this post. I’d love to think that some friendships can last through anything; however, the fragility of high school friendships has led me to believe otherwise. Who knows. Maybe when we grow up (I refuse to believe that just because we’re turning 18, we are mature), our friendship will stand a better chance. Maybe, eventually, I’ll find a friend who’ll be around forever. Until then, I should just appreciate the few that have made it this far.