Olivia’s Outlook: friendship

November 3, 2019

Friendship is an obscure concept that I constantly question. I mull over the idea of friendship so often, its meaning to me changes often. We cry, laugh, argue, agree and experience life with our friends. We learn from our friends; we learn to compromise, to love and to take risks. All relationships are messy, but we can learn something from each one we have.  


At first, friendship is exhilarating. New opportunities present themselves and we consider all the possibilities for the future. This may lead to the creation of unrealistic expectations for a friend or a relationship. Expectations which are not met in a relationship creates tension.  


Friends may be driven away from each other because of tension that has not been discussed, so it is important to express oneself constantly. Being completely open and vulnerable in a friendship can bring friends closer together. 


Love between friends is special in its unconditionality. Friends can argue for days, but still make plans for the following week. They can work through problems and return to each other like all is normal. Friends who have not seen each other for days, months or even years are filled with joy when they reconnect. People love their friends and learn about them in a different way than with people in their other relationships. 


Sometimes, our friends meet new people and we lose connection. Friendships which end because one person outgrows the other are upsetting, but they teach us valuable lessons. We learn to lose a loved one in a less literal sense than one may immediately think. 


Personally, I think ending a friendship is worse than ending a romantic relationship. When something upsetting happens to a person, they normally go to their friends to talk about their feelings or to find a way to cheer up. After losing a friend, there are not many people to turn to. It is hard to find someone who can make a person laugh in the way that a friend does; not many people can replace a friend in making a person feel better.  


The end of a friendship is accompanied by grief and the constant comparison between new and old friends. Pictures, places, songs, gifts and other pieces of relationships remind us of the people attached to those items. Growing apart is worse than a breakup because growing apart is something that slowly develops and fizzles out.  


Breakups are comparable to a contract or a distinction, something both parties are aware of, even if the breakup is not mutual. Growing apart is something unclear and messy. It can cause confusion, but also, there is not necessarily a way to prevent it. Friendships can simply end, but the love and memories remain. 


Despite the disconnection between old friends, they can still smile and laugh when reminiscing over old memories. Our values and ideas may change, but friends will always have love for each other based on the friendship that once was intact. Friendship can always be remembered fondly, and while it lasts, it is completely wonderful even if it does not last forever. 

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