Friendships: The Ever-Changing Seasons

I envy kids. With their carefree attitudes and ability to befriend any other kid hanging out in the park that day. I envy kids because they’re so innocent that they don’t see what’s about to happen to them. Grown-ups have a tough time making friends. I mean real, genuine friends. As an adult, I’ve become less willing to just befriend anyone. What happened to my childlike innocence?

Every year I get older it seems like it’s getting to be more and more difficult to make real friends. My sister once told me, “Every friendship has a season”. Back then, it was something said to give me comfort in the fact that I was losing a close friend. At one time, this friend was perfect and new like spring. We had our sunny summer where we laughed about everything and cried about nothing. Fall came and our relationship matured as we giggled less, but really got to know each other. Then winter hit and we stopped being friends. The shame about a seasonal friendship is that I’m starting to see my friends change seasons more than I’d like them to.

There are so many people we run into every day. I get confused even with co-workers and the level of our friendship. Often times, I meet someone at church and though we have a great chat, I could run into that person again in public and we’d avoid talking. The people I see every day, they’re not friends. They’re just acquaintances I guess.

At the Bulk Market last week, I chatted with the owner and her cashier. I see them every time I go shopping, so I guess I would say I’ve become a regular in their store. Later in the week, I saw the cashier on the tube. She was sitting directly across from me. Now, Kid Aly would have pipped up and said ‘hello’. However, Adult Aly hid behind her phone avoiding eye contact. I wasn’t in the mood for small talk and I had a long day, can you blame me? Yet, would it really hurt if I said hello? She may have needed it.

In London, there are so many people that my attitude has become “I’ll never see that person again”. Ironically enough, I met a women about six months ago at a festival show and she didn’t tell me her name until three hours after we had been talking. She got up and said, “I guess I didn’t feel the need to give you my name since we’ll never see each other again.” I mean, she was right. I’ve forgotten her name and what she looks like, so the chances of us meeting again are slim.

So, I guess what bugs me the most is that even though we meet dozens of people throughout the week, how come none of them stick?

Lately, I have noticed the friends who walk in and out of my life. The ones I’ve met at Alpha, at a theatre show or even past friends have been slowly going away. Planning a wedding has actually shown us who our friends are in life. I’ve noticed the ones who are overly eager about getting to know me have a higher chance of slowly disappearing.

Just when I’ve started to question all that I know about my friendships, something special comes along. This weekend, my friend organized a hen-do night out for me. (Note: Hen-do is the UK equivalent to a bachelorette party. You with me? Cool. Moving on.) It was just six of us out for a night in Covent Garden—there were awesome drinks, delicious food, and salsa-like dancing. At one point, we were upstairs at the salsa bar, sitting around and playing a few games/talking. It was then that I really took in how awesome the night had become. No one was drunk, falling over or even bored. Everyone was really cool. All I could think was that I have some really awesome people in my life! These people, who I hardly get to see, these are friends.

I like to think that I’m lucky. Lucky enough to have a family who loves me, a best friend who is always there for me and a partner who stands by my side every day. Now I know, it’s not that simple. I’ve got more people out there by my side, even though I don’t get to see them all on regular basis. I’ve got long-term, stable friends. What more could I ask for?

I think my sister was right with her concept of seasonal friends, but there is one tiny flaw in that idea. I don’t think everyone is seasonal. I believe there are some friends who fill a temporary void of loneliness. More importantly, I believe there are friends out there who will always come around for a dinner, a night out at a show or just to hang out at home. Not all friends are seasonal. Some are friends for life.

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