One of the hardest lessons I've had to learn in adulthood is about friendships. They are always evolving and changing, and I'm not necessarily a big fan of that. The process of learning this and accepting this has been painful.
Here are a few key points I've had to work through.
:: Everyone in your life will let you down at some point. The ones who matter will make it up to you.
Things come up, so plans get cancelled. People get wrapped up in their issues, so sometimes they aren't there or they make a rude comment. But the good friends will reschedule time with you. The true friends will apologize when they've failed you or when they recognize they've hurt your feelings. And they'll modify their behavior.
:: Not everyone has the same definition of what it means to be a friend. But that doesn't mean they're a bad friend.
I have a very set definition of what friendship means to me. And I struggle when people don't fulfill those expectations. For a very long time, I took it personally. I thought it meant I cared more about them than they did about me. That might have been true in some cases, but it's certainly not in the case of all.
:: Just because you talk every day doesn't mean you're close. Just because you don't talk every day doesn't mean you're not close.
There are some friends I only talk to every few weeks. Life is just too busy. But as soon as we do catch up, it's like no time has passed at all. Those are the connections I love.
:: Friends won't always share all your interests, but they'll support your passion for them anyway.
I have very few friends who love baseball, similar music, and/or craft beer (among other things). But they indulge me by allowing me to talk about those things. They like seeing me happy, even if they don't fully grasp why I love those things so much.
:: Real friends will offer constructive criticism to help you be your best self.
This has been the toughest for me. I tend to surround myself with very blunt and honest people. They have been good for me because they never shy away from telling me the truth. If I'm being ridiculous, they call me out on it. But they don't do it to be mean. They do it to help me be better. Because they know I am better. And they want me to be better. I don't always enjoy their methods, but I always end up being grateful for their help when I come out on the other side.
I'm sure my lessons about friendship aren't over. I fully expect to experience more heartache, anger, and frustration, but I also look forward to strengthening connections with the important people in my life.
What things have you learned about friendships and how they change over the years?