Friends for Happiness, Friends for Growth

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” Anais Nin

There are certain people that we are drawn to for whatever reason. I find it interesting when we click with someone. I’ve thought about this a lot. There are people that come into our lives at certain times. We learn from them. They are in our lives and we love them. Then our lives change, and those people are no longer the major players that they once were.


Why does this happen without any warning, without a falling out?


There are many “seasons” that we go through in life. My life so far has had many different “seasons”; my own childhood, elementary school, high school, university (undergrad then masters), pre-kids career life, marriage, babyhood, toddler time, entrepreneurship. With each of these seasons, came new friends and different realities. We tend to immerse ourselves in different parts of our own realities and attract friends that are in similar realities. The friends we make help us navigate our realities.


As an example, when I moved to Philadelphia on my own at age 23 to do my Master’s I was randomly matched up my one of my classmates from New Jersey. We became roommates and thus started to get to know each other. I thought she was kind of rude at first because she was always saying “What?”. I’m pretty sure she thought I was a weirdo because I always said “Pardon” and “Eh”. I know that she came into my life when I needed to take myself less seriously. School was very challenging and serious. We were studying genetics, giving bad news to patients on the daily and working our butts off to get A’s! Thank goodness, my roommate had a wicked sense of humour. She was, and still is, able to take any dull situation and poke fun at it. I have the tendency to be a little stuffy and serious. She made me laugh. She was also super smart, but not in an obnoxious way. We challenged each other to excel in our studies, a little healthy competition never hurt anyone. More importantly, we listened to one another and we shared our challenges with one another. We didn’t hide our vulnerabilities from one another, in fact we couldn’t hide much in that crummy two bedroom apartment. Our friendship has lasted the test of time, and the test of distance. I will hold a special place in my heart always for this friend.   


And what about those special circumstance friends? Have you even gone to a summer camp for the week and made a best friend? Maybe you were super-homesick so you befriended the closest warm body. More likely though, you had something in common. You both liked Weezer or you both had glitter eye make-up (Not you? Just me then!). My summer camp bestie was more outgoing than I was. She helped me branch out and meet new people. She helped me get out of my head and truly experience the best that camp had to offer for a teenage girl, bonfires, cookouts, bush parties. These are great memories and this was another pivotal time in my life where I gained more confidence in who I was and what I liked to do.   


It’s a bit of a mind bend to try and make sense of the friendships you have made over your lifetime but I don’t think anything is a coincidence. As a teenager, I read a book called “The Celestine Prophecy” which has stuck with me all these years. All that I remember about it was this: anytime you are walking and you almost run into another person, there is a reason. There is a reason to everything. Every chance meeting and relationship we forge serves us in one way or another. Sometimes that other person teaches us something. Sometimes that other person draws a quality out of us that we didn’t know we had. Either way, your life is impacted by the people in it. We don’t live in a vacuum. We are social beings and we are always changing.


A life with friends is a rich one. Love your friends in each and every season you are in together. Cherish those memories and try to acknowledge the role that that friendship had in your life at that particular time then move forward and embrace the next season.