How do we determine the type of people we want to surround ourselves with? Do we look for like-minded individuals? Or perhaps, someone different who will challenge us and help us gain a fresh perspective?
I didn’t party much, or at all, in high school, so when I got to college, unfortunately, partying was my top priority. Since that was the case, when it came to making friends, all I thought I wanted was to find the ‘fun’ friends who would always be willing to go out. I didn’t really care if they would be genuine friends who truly cared about me or my happiness because that was not of importance at the time.
As I reminisce, I’ve honestly made so many good (and the occasional bad) memories with these friends and had the best of the best times with them. However, just because we had incredible memories and had been through quite a bit together, does that mean that I’m obligated to remain friends with them if they no longer serve a constructive purpose in my life?
I seriously started to question this the other day when I got into an argument with an old college friend of mine. She was upset and felt like I didn’t care about her because I rarely reached out to her anymore.
It’s true that I began to distance myself from her but it wasn’t because I no longer cared for her, but because I finally realized that I’ve outgrown our relationship.
I noticed that the more time I spent with her, the more my true values were beginning to sway. I was getting so caught up in the worldly things that once didn’t matter to me, such as desiring designer handbags and wanting the most attractive guys to impress others.
I’m not saying that she is the reason I got involved with these bad habits but we definitely fed off of each other and encouraged one another’s bad decisions. Whenever one of us would get the newest material item or hung out with a new attractive guy, we would be praised for it. I started to live for these ‘accomplishments’ and for what others thought of me. This disrupted my mental clarity and made me worship these false idols.
I wanted to break free from the confinement of materialism and the temporary excitement of new guys. But I felt like every time I started talking to her again, instead of growing into the person I wanted to become, I would be taking a few steps back.. Back to the person who idolized material possessions and idolized guys for their physical features.. Back to the person I no longer yearned to be..
It’s not that I don’t care about her because I really do. I pray for her wellbeing and truly want nothing but the best for her. But I also have to be on guard for myself and discover what is best for my personal development as well.
Now that I’m older and at a completely different stage in my life, I’m starting to recognize that what I needed from my friendships have evolved just as I have.
I no longer care about dating the hottest guys or owning the newest material items just to be admired by my peers. When I ultimately came to this realization, the superficial conversations we had became meaningless to me.
Similar to a relationship with ‘so much history’, it can be hard to let go of a friendship with someone you once thought would be in your life forever. However, if this friendship is hindering your growth or if you can no longer positively influence theirs, what is the point of holding on?
I’ve come to accept that sometimes God puts people in your life who are only meant to be there for a season, and that’s completely okay. You’ve learned the lessons He wanted you to learn and you’ve experienced everything He wanted you to experience. And once you’re able to release yourself from the people that obstruct or no longer play a role in your growth, it’s on to the bigger and better things that He has in store for your life.