How many of us have them?

In childhood, after family, friends are the most important people in our lives. For some of us, friends before family are most important to us. I remember as a kid losing friends and silently sulking for months. It hurt me. Because I didn’t feel like anyone could show me how to underdog the swing, or do pull ups on the monkey bars like certain friends could. It was the ultimate heart break. Growing up into my early teens, I realized that some people are different. And the friends you made in elementary would not always be the ones who followed you to junior high. In middle school I didn’t have many friends. A lot of the girls my age were “fast” or just immature and I felt I didn’t want to be involved with them. When I did find friends in junior high it was like a different world. Connecting and planning with people who had the same goals and aspirations as me. Wanting to go to college and have a career etc. Even in junior high those things were important to me. And just like in elementary I wanted to take those friends to the next round with me. And then, I got to high school. High school is when I realized, everyone can’t go. Some people failed, others moved, others chose different schools etc. But for whatever reason I was back at square one. In high school I found out why everyone couldn’t go. There was so much drama in high school and friendship seemed nearly impossible to maintain for a perspective college student. Girls were fighting over boys. Girls were fighting over girls. There were gangs and cliques and none of these things made it likely to find that one friend who would swing from the monkey bars with me. As an adult now I’m suffering the consequences of my losses. I’m practically afraid to make friends. Sometimes afraid to be myself, in fear that I may say the wrong thing and I’ll be left standing next to the sliding board alone. Only this time I’ll be standing at the copy machine or the bar. Friendships and the way they are built are forever changing. In my years of practice I’ve learned not to expect anything and never get overly excited over common interests. Tons of people love music but that won’t always make them a good friend. I’ve also learned that some friendships are one sided. For some people that’s ok. Not for me. If I could go back and give my younger self any advice it would be to find friends who want the same things as you and some who don’t. More importantly I would tell myself not to continue giving to someone who doesn’t reciprocate. Last but certainly not least on the topic of friends, as I sit writing this I find it interesting that I will never forget those old “best friends.” The ones that didn’t make it. Arnold in elementary, Ashley in junior high and Sharon in High School. I always think about how their lives turned out and what schools they went to. But I’m also wondering, how come I can’t forget?

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