Reason. Season. Lifetime: The Circles of Friendship
What Happens When You Lose a Close Friend?
By Stephanie Benoit
Friend. Ami. Amiga. Amicus. No matter what language you say it in, it all means the same. Friends are the family members that you get to choose. No matter what you need or what you’re going through, they are always there. You never think that your friends would betray you or fall out your life, but as I mature and continue to grow in all my relationships, I realize that some were never meant to be there for the entire ride.
Throughout the years, I’ve come across a lot of people. Luckily for me, I’ve always been quite selective with who I’ve chosen to let in my life, and more importantly, my inner circle. Even as a child, I would always remain quite aloof in my dealings with people until I built trust enough to be able to call you my friend. I’m still that way till this very day and I advise most people to do that rather than jumping straight in. You just never know how people will impact your life.
Reason. I had a friend who initially I was acquaintances with. For some reason, I had a vested interest in helping her. I felt like I could be a good role model and help her through a difficult time in her life. Before I knew it, she was one of my closest friends. The things that we helped each other through rivaled that of sisters and we didn’t take it for granted. As time progressed, we grew slightly apart. At first it wasn’t that noticeable or problematic, but after a slight rift that she refused to address, we were no longer speaking.
I am a person who likes to address issues head on. She is more passive. In her passivity, she chose to ignore the problem and our friendship, all in the same swoop. You can’t communicate with someone who refuses to communicate, so we didn’t…and haven’t. It bothers me because I cared for her like a sister and made a point to be there for her, but things don’t always go the way you think they will. My frustration caused me to wonder what the point of it all was. What was the reason, we became friends if the friendship would crumble so easily? I figured that my ultimate purpose in this friendship could have been to help her in the one of the most difficult times of her life. With that, I moved on.
Season. The last year in college was one of the best. My closest friends and I created something that was more than a friendship; it was a family. We literally went to class, ate dinner together, attended functions, etc. You name it, we did it…together. One of my friends in particular completed the lady trifecta that was composed of me, my best friend, and her. You couldn’t see one of us without the other and if you did, we knew where the other was and why he/she wasn’t there, College is one of the best experiences in life but it also is one of the most trying as well.
As you navigate through this life, you’ll become bombarded with realities that aren’t always pleasant. Yet, in the moment or in reflection, you learn how to best cope. We laughed and cried together and when it was time for us to separate, we closed it out with an emotional circle that I punctuated with us sharing the wishes that we had for one another. Even though we closed out our last night in the same city, never did we think that would close out our friendship. That, however, is exactly what happened with one of us. She moved and fell off the face of the earth. Not one to actively keep in touch, she acted as a child does when she moves away — switching schools and making new friends. The difference is, we are adults, so continuing a friendship should be easy.
Almost all of my close friends, including my best friend, don’t live in my city. We simply take vacations, keep in touch, and continue to be there in times of need — and believe me, there have been many. We even reached out a long time ago, jokingly bashed her about her absence and extended an olive branch to rekindle our sisterhood. Till this day, we have heard nothing. I can’t tell you how many conversations we’ve had about her and how hurt we are about her nonchalance, but you live and you learn. No matter how ridiculous it is now, when we discuss those memories, we still laugh to the point of tears. That season, will always remain one of the best and one of the most impactful in my life, but like real seasons, they often change…and bring something else.
Lifetime. The past few years have been quite trying in every way imaginable. The funny thing is, I found that I wasn’t the only one going through it. My most treasured friends had life changes of their own too. The beauty of it was that we could all be there for one another. The happenings in the recent past have altered who we’ve become, taught us who we want to be, and strengthened the only thing we could depend on, our faith. These are the friendships that lead you further into your life and walk with you throughout it. No matter what changes may occur (marriage, children, career), they are there.
Life was never meant to be lived alone. Along with finding your perfect match in a mate, God blesses you with special people in your life to fill your friendship tank. It may take several wrong turns with the wrong passengers before you get to your destination, but eventually you’ll arrive with the right people in tow. Guard your heart, mind, and words. Take time to build trust. Most importantly, don’t let the negative experiences harden your heart and keep you from the positive things and people that lie in your future. I’m grateful for my lifetime friends. Don’t forget to be grateful for yours.
Stephanie Benoit is a certified life coach, writer and speaker. Visit her at www.stephaniebenoit.com
Also read: My Friend Vanessa