From the time I was a child, getting to know others, and making friends. Has always been something that has come natural to me. I never had a hard time making friends. And due to that throughout my lifetime, I’ve had a lot of great friendships come into my life.
But at the same time. I’ve also watched a lot of friendships go.
And although I know a lot of those friendships, I had to let go of. Or life made us naturally grow apart.
Many of those friendships, I could NEVER imagine in a million years coming to an end.
From elementary school. To high school. To college. And even after college. I’ve witnessed my entire friend dynamic change. Shift. Pull people out.
Or pull people in.
And although this is natural in our 20’s. For me, it seemed like every minute. I was losing someone in my life. That I envisioned would be there for me, for a lifetime.
I’ve been betrayed by friends. I’ve been lied on by friends. I’ve been used by friends. I’ve had envious friends. I’ve bended my back for friends, who weren’t there for me when I needed them the most.
When my grandmother died, I had friends that really showed their true colors. Which was extremely hurtful.
I was even sexually assaulted by a friend.
Honestly the list goes on..
And I’m sure you can relate to some of my experiences as well.
I know I’m not alone here.
But due to all those experiences, from the time I was 18, until…. this year. I became a very guarded, and honestly resentful person. I felt like I could not trust ANYONE. I remember when I went to college. I had no intention of putting myself out there. Or getting to know anyone like that at all.
I wanted to stay as low-key as possible. And remain completely under the radar.
But that never really happens for someone who has a big personality.
So I still met a lot of really chill people. And made some new friends as well.
And honestly, in the beginning it felt amazing to have new friends from college. While still having my friends from back home.
Until I started to slowly but sure. Lose some of those friendships.
As I reflect back on the friendships I’ve lost in my 20’s. In several of those situations others were to blame. But in the same breath. As I reflect back, the cause of some of those friendships ending, had a lot to do with who I was at the time. So I too am to blame.
I was carrying a lot of baggage from my past experiences with others. And whether I knew it or not. My harbored feelings began to manifest in toxic ways. Because at the time, I wasn’t learning from my experiences. Or even attempting to heal from them.
Whether it was how I spoke to some friends. Or how I showed my lack of trust. Even how I studied or judged how they interacted with others, versus how they interacted with me. Or how I displayed my extreme guardedness. I let a lot of my friends know subconsciously that I didn’t completely trust their intentions.
And that I essentially didn’t completely trust them.
It was almost as if I really needed people to prove to me. That they were really down for me.
Any type of issue with one friend. Would make me automatically question other friends, and their motives.
Almost checking to see, who was next?
Who is going to flip the switch next?
And it would drive me insane!!! Because who wants to feel like that about their friends?
Who wants to feel like you can’t trust the people in your life?
Especially when you are already a very private person, like myself.
But I was hurt.
And in more ways, than one. And I didn’t know how to comfortably, or effectively express it.
Guardedness, resentment, and anger were my ways. But those ways also weren’t healthy at all. And they did more damage, than good.
It got to the point where I was constantly questioning peoples loyalty.
Or wondering if people were really down for me?
You see, I absolutely love the concept of friendship. And I would do anything for anyone that is a close friend of mines.
When I feel like I can trust you. And you are there for me, there is nothing in this world that I wouldn’t do for you.
I see friendship as a very unique connection in one’s life. And I’m not a big fan of superficial friendships. Any person that I’ve had a superficial connection with. So this could be old party friends in my early 20’s. Or people that I was just generally chill with.
Those people don’t really know who I’m.
It’s the friends that I have really connected with, on a real. Raw. Deep. Personal. And even spiritual level. The friends I have actively tried to understand. and in return they have tried to understand me. The friends that I’m there for. And in return they are right there for me. But also the friends that are able to show their imperfect selves to me. And be their imperfect selves.
Those are the people that really know who I’m. And those are the friendships that I truly value.
Genuine connections mean the world to me.
And I know even with the friendships that I have now. I still have a lot of work to do. And what I mean by that. I tend to keep a lot of my hardships. Or things going on in my life from my friends. And the thing is, I think they don’t know, but they do.
It’s nothing against them, at all, and it has everything to do with me, and my inner feelings. And my fear of being vulnerable, even though, whenever I’m vulnerable is often times, when I’m the most powerful.
Learning and healing from losing friendships in my 20’s, has helped me learn 4 valuable life lessons.
Here are the 4 lessons that losing friends in my 20’s has taught me.
1) Practice & Learn the virtue of Forgiveness.
This is a lesson I’m still working on. Man.. forgiveness is hard af. Especially when you have been SOOO hurt by someone from your past. It’s so hard to let go of the pain, disappointment or hurt that they have caused you. But if Nelson Mandela can not only practice forgiveness, but try his best to teach others the virtue of forgiveness, after being in prison for 27 years?
I think we can all practice forgiveness as well.
And trust me, I know this one is easier said than done. I know we have all been hurt by people in our past. But what people do to you, is often times not a reflection of you, but a reflection of them. And it is important to realize that.
Hurt people, hurt people.
And anyone that has caused you pain, is certainly going through their own pain.
Now I’m not saying this justifies their reasoning of treating you badly, but it allows you to see that person, or people as human beings. By realizing the pain they have caused you, is due to the way that they feel inside.
Or the way that they feel about themselves.
A lot of people do not like who they are. And as harsh of a that statement is. It’s the truth. And it’s sad man.
Liking who you are, learning more about who you are, and loving who you are, isn’t as common as we all might think it is. We talk a lot about self-love as a society now, but not a lot of people posses it, you know.
So practice forgiveness. And try your best to always seek to understand.
2) People don’t change, life experiences changes people
This thing called life, is one heck of an experience. I think life is a beautiful thing, but we all have gone through experiences and sufferings that have changed us for the better.
And some experiences have even changed us for the worse.
For example, I stated prior how my past experiences of losing friends, made me a very angry, guarded and resentful being. But just like you, I have also experienced several other hardships in life, that have changed me in many ways, that I could never expect. And that has certainly been the case, when it comes to some of my past friendships.
Some people went through hardships that really changed how they acted, or how they carried themselves. It affected how they viewed situations and people, or even how they viewed themselves.
It made them unhappy. It changed how they treated the friendship. It changed how they treated me.
And it eventually, changed how we treated each-other.
All our life experiences play a huge part in our personal evolution. Although these life experiences, whether good or bad, are meant to propel us forward. At times they can really change people, and sometimes for the worse.
But, we must forgive those people, because you too, have also faced moments in your life, where a life experience has changed you for the worse.
You may have grown out of it now, or perhaps you are still there. But either way, you know how it feels.
Once again, I’m not dismissing what someone has done to you.
But we are in our 20’s. Growth is not an easy thing man. And Adulting is definitely not easy.
So for the friends you’ve lost because they changed due to their life experiences, have some empathy for them.
Even if they did you wrong, try your best to have empathy for those people.
3) It’s better to lose others, than to lose yourself
I stand firmly on this statement. After experiencing the emotion of feeling as though I was losing myself last year. I can honestly admit that is by far one of the scariest feelings ever. I don’t care what anyone says, we can debate on it man. I feel bad for anyone that feels like they don’t know who they are, or they are losing their sense of self.
That shit is scary, and I wouldn’t wish that shit on anyone.
Because in this lifetime, you are all you got.
And although I love having great friends in my life, growing up, especially as a part-time only child. I knew early on in life, what it means to have your own back. And how important it is.
So even though you may have lost some friends in your life. It is better that you lost them, than you losing yourself.
Trust me, it is.
In the end, YOU are the person that you should be looking out for.
This is Your Life. And the biggest thing you owe yourself, is simply being true to you.
4) Nothing in life, will last Forever. It’s Okay to Let Go.
The act of letting go is sometimes so easy, to the point you don’t even think twice.
And other times it can be very hard, to the point you can’t even believe it’s happening.
Especially when you never imagined letting the friendship go, or having to remove that person from your life.
Or perhaps you may be someone that has a hard time with change, and accepting sudden changes in your life.
but nothing in life lasts forever.
And that is one of the hardest parts about life. Accepting the notion that nothing lasts forever.
Because subconsciously we all want certain things to last forever.
We all want to hold on to the things that we love, cherish, are comfortable with, familiar with, care for, and know.
But if you live in the now. This notion won’t make you anxious or worried.
And if you think about it this way. Nothing lasts forever in the physical world.
But in the spiritual world, our souls last for eternity.
So after reading this post, my question to you is, what are some lessons that you have learned in your 20’s, or maybe even in your 30’s if you are in your 30’s and reading this post, when it comes to losing friends?
How have those lessons impacted your life, or shaped you as a person?