There have been many times in my life where I have been in awe with my good fortune to have multiple best friends acquired from preschool to now. I don’t want to say I’m an expert, but I have some experience. So on this day where the masses celebrate best friends, I want to share 3 lessons I have learned on building friendships to stand the test of time.
You will not experience all life stages together and it is OK.
We get spoiled when we meet friends in school, because we automatically have one common ground. Whether it’s proximity, age or major, there are instant connections. Fast forward to post college life and things start to become tricky. I have stood by their side as 4 best friends got married. Just this week, two of those are having babies. And honestly, their transitions to different life stages while I stayed behind caused us to evaluate our friendship. Some don’t make it when they discover the friendship was only based on the one common factor. But for me, I realized that these people have become my closest friends because we care about each other on a deep level. And even if my main priority is feeding my dogs and cat, they support me through it. And when I call them to calm my nerves before a blind date, they answer despite being at dinner with their husbands, and never complain as they talk me off the ledge. In the same way, I woke up at multiple points last night to check in on my main girl as she preps to deliver a sweet baby boy. It’s really beautiful when you figure out how to meet those you love right where they are.
It only gets harder to make time for each other, but it is absolutely necessary.
I remember the first time it hit me that my college best friends and I had all taken jobs in different cities and we would not see each other every day. It was one of the worst feelings. What would become of us? Would we slowly drift apart? We were terrified, so we made a pact to visit each other every chance we were given. And for a while, we did just that. It seemed I hit the road every Friday to see them. I will treasure those spontaneous weekends, but we all knew it wasn’t sustainable. Add pets, husbands, more demanding jobs and, now, babies, scheduling quality time has become harder and harder. I remember one time when I hadn’t seen those same best friends for 2 months. It was terrible. We promised to not let it happen again and we will likely break that promise before it’s all over, but the lesson here is to be intentional about quality time. Even if it is scheduling a FaceTime date, seeing and hearing one of your people does the heart so much good.
Give each other a break.
If you are in any relationship for an extended period of time, your feelings are likely to be hurt. You will not understand why the other person made a certain decision and will wonder if they ever thought about you when making it. I have hurt my people’s feelings and they have hurt mine. And on both sides, there were times when I felt like digging my heels in and I probably did a time or two. After experiencing this a handful of times and having tough conversations about it, I realized these friendships are deeply rooted. And when one friend backs out of weekend trip because she’s exhausted from life, I can choose to respond with more hurt or I can neutralize it with grace. I’m still working on this one, but it helps when you’ve talked it through and you and your friends can come to each other without feeling judged, criticized and attacked.
Post by Ellie Turner // Photo by Eva Cranford Photography
Photo caption: Ellie, far right, with two of her best friends from college.