Back in the year 2000, I was a senior in high school. The year consisted mostly of college applications, goofing around in class, and playing sports. Any pressure of doing well in school was alleviated; the work, or damage, was already done, so it was left up to the college gods to determine my fate, as it were. I had a good time.
A big reason for why my senior year was enjoyable was my friends. There was about seven of us that did pretty much everything together. We’d play basketball, go bowling, go to the movies, and hang out on the weekends, and during school we would be in the same classes and have lunch and breaks together. There was a real sense of camaraderie and brotherhood, and though college was on the horizon where our paths would diverge, we felt like the bonds that we created during our formative adolescent years would carry our friendships through a lifetime of different experiences.
Today, I am still friends with only one of those high school guys.
It’s an all too familiar story that for the most part all of us can relate to – losing touch with high school friends. But it’s not just friends from back in high school. The truth is, no matter what stage of life we’re talking about, the friends we make and have can and will likely fall by the wayside. But why is that? Are having our lives go in different directions the reason for this? Is it because people change and are no longer the same version of themselves as they were at a particular time?
I think those are all valid explanations, but the one I believe in the most is this: friendships are fragile, and oftentimes a single instance can break them beyond repair.
It’s not as if I had a huge falling out with my high school friends. That was a case of time growing people apart. But let’s look at the friends that we have amassed in our lifetimes, and more specifically, within the last five to ten years. It could be a comment someone said, or what someone did or didn’t do in a certain situation, but little moments in time can have damaging effects on friendships. Maybe a one-time friend made an offensive comment or perhaps someone left us high and dry in a time of need; whatever the case may be, people are quick to bail on friendships.
It’s a combination of things, I suppose. As we get older, our personal thresholds for bullshit decrease. We become more set in our ways and oftentimes less compromising on certain principles. Our time becomes more valuable and in turn we become more selective on whom we choose to spend our time with. Whatever the reason may be, all of our friendships, no matter how close or strong they may seem at the moment, are all hanging by a thread. And the thread can break at any time.
I don’t write all this to paint a grim picture of humanity (even though I tend to be a misanthrope). I write this to point out that we should appreciate the people we call friends today. It’s human nature to take people for granted, so while we are in the good graces of those we call friends and vice versa, let’s do all we can to stay friends.