How have you been? I’ve missed you in every way possible. It has been six years since we first met in school, and oh, how time has flown by! It feels surreal that so much has changed since we’ve parted ways — we have different friends, we study different subjects, and we are now in very different seasons. I know that many friendships change as the years go on … but I guess I didn’t expect ours to be one of them. We used to talk every day, but now, I barely know what’s going on in your life, and you don’t know what’s going on in mine… But despite this sadness that we’re no longer close, I’m writing to say that I am so thankful for our friendship. It’s one of the best I’ve had, and you’ve played a big part in making me who I am today. Remembering all the things we used to do and the memories we shared in the past always brings me joy. We may not ever be as close as we used to be, but I thank God that we once were! Wherever life’s journey may take us and whomever we meet along the way, know that I’m always here for you if you ever need a friend. Friends drift apart, but nothing can take away the closeness we once shared. Praise God that we can celebrate this new season we are in!
Growing up, I’ve lost many friends. It’s not that the friendships didn’t work. There was no big fight and falling out. We just grew apart. I’ve had many sleepless nights crying out my hurt and disappointment to God, wondering why someone so close to my heart was now gone. I knew it wasn’t anyone’s fault. I often tried hard to keep the friendship going, but soon grew tired of trying so much. After going through this time and again, I’ve finally learned to accept that friends do come and go — even the ones who seem the closest. While it is painful to acknowledge that things have changed, it doesn’t mean that the friendships are lost forever!
WHY FRIENDS DRIFT
No one can deny that our teenage years are times of greatest change. We change schools at least twice, go through puberty, establish our identities, discover our interests and so on. It is no surprise that as we change, the dynamics of our friendships would change as well! Personally, my friendships have been on a wild, emotional ride.
In the past year while I have been studying abroad and creating a new life at university, some of my friends have drifted away and moved on with their own lives in Singapore. Initially, it was difficult to let go. I thought that things had to remain the same even though we were apart, but that only caused more pain and hurt in the beginning months I was away. As I learned to let go and get used to this new stage of friendship we are in, I’ve come to treasure these friendships — and friendship in general — so much more.
Someone once made this analogy: friendship is like the journey of two paths, yours and mine. At some points, our courses run parallel — perhaps we are in the same school or life stage. At other points, we hit a fork in the road and go our separate ways. Sometimes the paths intersect again, and sometimes they don’t, but the least we can do is be thankful that, at one point at least, we once travelled side by side.
So how do we cope? When friends drift apart, how do we continue to be thankful for those friendships that have shaped us?
I'VE FINALLY LEARNT TO ACCEPT THAT FRIENDS DO COME AND GO
Here are some tips that I’ve held on to:
When we spend a lot of time with our friends, it is natural that our interests and habits are influenced by and dependent on each other. A change in this friendship can be hard to accept because it almost feels like we are losing a part of ourselves as well! Explore your own identity and discover your own likes and dislikes — you can be your own person even without your BFF around.
It’s only natural that as we go through different stages of life, we find different friends we have things in common with. When a friend seems to have new interests that don’t match yours (or vice versa), remember that this is all part of life and growing up. It doesn’t mean that you can’t be friends anymore — it just takes some adjustment to get used to how the friendship now works.
It’s All About Expectations
We all have expectations of our friends, but let’s face it — while daily chats and monthly sleepovers may have been possible at one point, it may not be realistic when you’re in a different school or life stage. Give yourself and your friend the space to grow — we’ll only get frustrated or bitter if we expect things to stay exactly the same.
Even if you may not be as close to your friend and understand fully what is going on in her life, you can rejoice with her when milestones and joyful moments come. Whether it’s a text or a coffee date every once in a while, be intentional about finding out what’s going on in their lives and celebrate with her!
According to 1 Corinthians 13:7 (ESV), “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” When we bear with the hurts and disappointments in a friendship, believe in the friendship despite the distance, hope the best for each other, and endure the challenges and struggles, we love with our very best.
So, whether your friendship is drifting apart, already distant, or remaining close, learn to love with a full heart and thank God for the gift of friendship He blesses us with in every stage of life.