Friendship is one of those things that can’t be universally defined. Everyone thinks of a friend differently and has different hopes and expectations. My own hopes and expectations have taught me a lot about myself this past year and with the school year coming to a close, I figured it was a good time to share my experience. Despite there being no universal definition of friendship, Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best, “The only way to have a friend is to be one.”
One thing I learned that I think is an extremely important lesson is that it’s okay to fight, it’s okay to makeup, and it’s okay to…well…not. People change and grow at different rates and in different ways. This can cause issues and arguments. Sometimes, you change together or can remain close despite being drastically different, but other times nature takes its course and the friendship dwindles into the dark. There’s nothing wrong with that, it just means that in one way or another, somebody changed. Whether or not it was a positive change is up to you. No matter how you drift or fight, wish them well, because at some point you really did love each other. That’s what friendship is all about, right? The point is, forgive yourself for drifting and forgive them if they’ve wronged you. Worrying and harboring bad feelings will only negatively effect you.
As is often repeated from Corinthians 13:4-7, “Love is patient, love is kind.” I’ve learned this year that while it’s important to treat others how you wish to be treated, all relationships are built on love. A love that shouldn’t be envious or conditional. When it is, it’s no longer real and the friendship is no longer comforting. While you should treat others the way you want to be treated, you should also put yourself first, because you deserve the best love. I’ve never had a problem understanding the last bit, but this year more than ever I have had to define love and live it as it means to me.
I’ve let people in that I’ve fought with, I’ve forgiven people who have hurt me, I’ve reached out to people I let slip my mind, and I’ve made new friends. Some of whom I’m close with, others not so much. More than anything, friendship is a learning process. A process that changes and adapts and is unique to everyone. For me, a friend is someone who supports and pushes me to be my very best self, which is exactly the kind of friend I strive to be.