I don’t want to be someone who turns cold as stone towards those who lack empathy and heart. If I care about you, I’ll say it. If you need help, I’ll provide it.
If it’s a one-way street, I’ll keep the light blazing at my end for you, even after you’ve disappeared into the shadows on yours.
One of the most tumultuous lessons I’ve learned recently is that not every friend I make will radiate as much warmth for me as I do for them. Not every person I connect with will want to keep our bond alive. I am willing to ensure every drunken friend I have is safely home, whether that means letting them crash on my couch or ordering them an Uber, even if no one will do the same for me.
And that’s okay.
I can grieve for what could have been. I can feel sad that we won’t ever be the Serena and Blair or the Meredith and Alex of my dreams. But once I’ve shed those tears, I’m moving on from the expectations and hopes I had for our friendship.
During my adolescence, I used to give up on friends at the first sign of imperfection or disrespect. If they said something cruel to me, or treated me in a way that I would have never treated them, it was over. And I didn’t care. I didn’t try to communicate or patch things up. I just moved on, because I knew I would be okay on my own.
How is it that at seventeen, I was so unafraid of being alone that I ended every “imperfect” friendship I had without a second thought, but at twenty-seven, I’m wishing I had friendships as unbreakable as those in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants?
At seventeen, I had the blind strength I wish I had now; but at twenty-seven, I have the hindsight and knowledge to realize that people aren’t perfect, and expecting perfection out of friendships is an unhealthy setup for failure.
Last fall, someone I considered to be one of my very best friends “took a step back” from me while I was going through something difficult. At the time, it devastated me. I had been there for her unfailingly during her heartaches, mistakes and scary situations. I couldn’t fathom why I was being abandoned.
All I know now is that we weren’t meant to be as close as I had hoped we’d be, or thought we were.
I know what it’s like to be alone and abandoned during devastating life events. I will never do that to someone I care about. But I also won’t be waiting. The blazing light that was once a lantern I held with hope in my hands during freezing temps, is now a lamp post that stands tall on its own as I stride forward, unapologetically yet warmly.