When we first join primary school, it is perhaps our first foray into true friendship. We meet so many different people, from different backgrounds. We don’t hold any grudges or reservations, but rather make friends with everyone. From primary school through to high school, we may hold onto these friendships. Or we may part ways with those people who saw us grow from shy or timid individuals – waving tearful goodbyes to our mum or dads on our first day – to being ready to join the ‘big school’.
Friendship certainly felt more pressured in high school. It was all about who was in your form or classes. Who you saw at lunch or lived close enough to so you could walk to school together. It was often peppered with more drama too – or so we thought at that age. We would fall out over silly arguments, declare you’ll never speak again, send a scribbled note to a friend of a friend in Geography filled with entitlement and outrage; before seen giggling with one another the very next day. Friendships could easily change, move and evolve during this time. Perhaps you stayed in the same circle from primary school but found happiness and comfort in the new friendship of others once you made the move.
Some would struggle to find friendship. Preferring the company of their own, which simply wasn’t understood at that age. Others would find solace in a big group of acquaintances rather than a tight circle of only a few. Leaving high school, you believe your friendship bonds are strong and resilient. You’ve made it through high school, onto the wide world of college then university or full-time employment.
The truth is, friendship, is a difficult topic for many. I’ve seen and heard more and more girls come out and discuss their difficulty with finding true female friendships – revealing how they never formed those tight bonds at a younger age which stay with you through to adulthood. Friendship changes over time too. It evolves, and not always in the best way. People change, they move away, and what you once laughed at together or bonded over doesn’t quite ring true anymore. There’s nothing wrong in that. Some friendships simply dissipate, leaving only memories.
The question is then, when do you let go? Do you keep working at a friendship in the hope you will rekindle what you once had? Do you let it flicker and waver until you’re both ready to reignite the flame? Or, do you simply let it go out and be thankful for what you once shared together? It’s a tricky one. And one I’ve experienced in the last few years, more than once. A commonality as we grow older perhaps. I think it’s okay to let go of a friendship, but, like any relationship, the best ones are always worth keeping, and worth fighting for. So, don’t always be quick to give up too easily.