Falling Out of Like: Why Losing Some Friends Could Be Good for You

Thursday, May 26, 2016

I met up with some college friends last weekend. The original plan for breakfast was moved to lunch for the obvious reason that this is the age of sleep deprivation and no one wants to leave the bed -- to eat -- very early in the morning. I don’t know what on earth breakfast is and I don’t know what it looks like, but when Mozghan said that she wanted to meet for breakfast at seven in the morning, I said “yes” without even thinking. I’m that kind of friend sometimes. 

Friend: “Let’s sign up to become soldiers of the apocalypse.”
Me: “Yes.”

It would take a special friend to disengage my thinking brain from my actual body though.

When I told my family that I said yes to a breakfast date -- and at 7 a.m -- everyone looked at me. That’s it. They just looked at me and dismissed it as a bad attempt to make a joke. As soon as I realized what I did to the sane part of myself, I felt doom creep in instantly. 

Breakfast has been a prodigious problem for me since the day I was born. To breathe the morning air and not fall back to sleep on the first few waking minutes is hard work enough for me. The act of chewing and pushing food to slide down my pharynx is inhumanely unthinkable if it should happen in the morning. This is where I horribly fail in my Ayurvedic practice. 

{This article is not about breakfast. Or at least now I’m trying so hard for it not to be.}

We did a lot of remembering -- people we used to live with in a small, carefree, happy, tax-free community we called the ‘dorm’. {Sometimes we would struggle to remember. My favorite moment was when one of my friends thought that she had a crush on a guy, only to be reminded that she was talking about a totally different person.} 

We all agreed how life was so easy then even when we were penniless on some days. Money was never part of the happiness equation and that made life wonderful. If we’re living life now the way we lived it back then, then everything would be just as blithe. But life has caught on and we have become older, hopefully wiser, and most of us need to take care of little people who can’t be fed on stories from our past no matter how awesome they were.

So, I realized what an interesting mix we were as people sitting together recalling the same part of our past. One confessed to having a cold relationship with culture albeit being well-travelled; the other one hates to travel and would rather stay in bed (but also still travels if anyone successfully drags her out of her queendom); the third friend does not have a Facebook account (yes, considered a rare species these days) and is expectedly sane and happy for being able to resist the vile “F”.

The only thing we all have in common is FOOD, friends and having lost some of them.

Everyone has lost a friend to death, to a fight, to time, to nothing. Sometimes we lose people... just because. What I thought was the worst of human experiences did not turn out to be so bad at all. I just needed to grow up a bit more and know that people will not be there forever, and that it’s alright. 

There are reasons why not all friends stay in your life, and losing some of them could be good for you. 

Friends acknowledge the existence of a two-way street. 

There are people to whom you give much of yourself to in terms of time, love, emotional and psychological support, {and sometimes even forms of monetary assistance}, but don’t seem to remember to give back a little and appreciate your effort. While it’s true that it’s relatively not healthy to expect anything from others, it’s different when you’re doing it for a person you consider a friend. It’s a relationship, not a service. 

When a friend deliberately drives through a narrow lane, speeds up, leaving you behind when you’re the one who needs a little cheering on, it’s best to let the person continue the journey on his/her own while you steer the wheel to a better direction.

Respect is the flame that never dies down in some places.

We all have that friend who likes to talk about us behind our backs. Sometimes it’s forgivable, but most of the time it’s just downright disrespectful. If a person can’t tell you to your face that your toesies look petrifying in those cheap sandals you’re wearing, yet have the audacity to provide such information in your absence, it means the flame has died down and it’s okay to let it stay that way. You deserve respect and you have no idea how many other people are willing to give that to you all because you’ve been cupping your hands on the wrong flame.

We’re preconditioned to think that people must permanently stay. 

We have been told, taught, or it had been insinuated all our lives, that people -- whether they’re friends or family -- have to stay permanently in our lives or else we have failed them at some point. Anything that does not stick together is not always shoddy. If you think long and hard enough about friends you once considered special, but who are not part of your life anymore because you just naturally drifted apart, you don’t file them away under “former bad relationships”. We’re human beings and change keeps us living, and there is completely nothing wrong with that. We have friends from our past who make us smile from time to time, and they are not even part of our lives at present anymore. Memories keep our hearts beating, and that’s why we have friends who now belong to the past.  

Tweet: Memories keep our hearts beating, and that’s why we have friends who now belong to the past. http://bit.ly/1sAtNBB (via @cure4mondays)

Support group, not zombie group.

Friends support our interests by being interested in our interests, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to have the exact same interests as them. However, it does take a special kind of friendship to get sincere support. If I only considered other homeschoolers for friends, I’d honestly have no friends left. I believe that there is so much to learn from other people, and that makes me sniff here and there to see what friends are up to at the moment. 

There are friends who like club-like relations where everyone is required to share the same interest for say... telenovelas or baking or tennis or knitting. That is so 1983. If you can’t be yourself with friends, there are always other people who will let you be you.

Toxic friends are multiplying as fast as roaches.

Drama kings and queens, people who never run out of people to hate, and those who incessantly complain about their jobs, the world, the government... are multiplying. Even some of the most zen-like personalities you know may have caught on the theatrical unecessities of life. Being a good listener is an admirable trait, and one that also must have a limit. 

I had a friend who hated everything in the world. I mean EVERYTHING, and that person had an intense aversion to anything positive. Youth makes you think that people like that are funny, even cute sometimes. Adulthood teaches you that life is better without them. My life has been better without that person, thank you. 

Not everything in life can be fixed. Not everything should be fixed, as opposed to what the screaming voice within us tells us. Friends are part of our journey, and journeys are supposed to make us richer -- in knowledge and in experience. 

Wrote this with Mozghan, Nadine, Belle, and, intermittently, with Janet -- the one who owes me coffee, in mind. 

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