The Beautiful Complexities of Friendships

Maggie Phelps, Writer

It wasn’t until recently that I realized how beautiful friendships are and should be.  Friendships are some of the most complex and yet most common relationships we will ever have with people in our lives.  Navigating friendships is a skill that no one will ever master, and many of us will experience what it is like to move from friendship to friendship. 

As with everything in life, things change as time moves on, and I am a firm believer in personal growth being able to occur only when change is enacted.  How that change comes about is often out of our control, and sometimes that change will manifest itself in the form of friendships.

No matter when friendships in our life exist, I find that these relationships are the most beautiful.  Friendships share a chosen love, mutual between both parties.  How lovely is it that we have people that choose us back?  

“Friendships are unique relationships because unlike family relationships, we choose to enter into them. And unlike other voluntary bonds, such as marriages and romantic relationships, they lack a formal structure,” says Julie Beck in The Atlantic.

Like anything in life that we choose, we are responsible for how those experiences affect us.  When friends walk in and out of our lives, our emotions are a product of how we handle those feelings.  For me, I handle those emotions by turning them into personal growth. 

When a friendship comes to a close, we have a choice to make.  We can choose to wallow in the emotions and become a watered down version of ourselves, or we can decide to rise above the situation and grow from what happened.  Choosing to grow from a friendship is the most mature decision that a person can make.  Not all friendships are going to be lifelong, but all friendships deserve to be healthy regardless of how long their duration is.

As humans, we are programmed to believe we are deserving of a low quality love, love that meets us at the bare minimum.  When we make the decision to walk away from a friendship that no longer serves us, we are making the decision for ourselves that we deserve a love that meets us at our standards.  If an individual is supposed to choose you back in a friendship, then your needs need to be met. 

Evaluate the love you receive from the friends in your life.  Is it love that serves you in the way you need? I think we feel selfish when we realize that our friendships aren’t serving us in the way we need.  However, it is the exact opposite.  You are growing into a new person who understands their needs when you make the decision to move on. 

Even though there are friendships in life that may not last long and may have toxic tendencies, all of those friendships have taught you something and there is value in that lesson.

If there’s one thing I hope you’ve learned from past failed friendships it’s that your time, your energy, and your efforts deserve to be valued and appreciated in a friendship.  You only have so much energy to devote to people and relationships that you really care about.  Be cautious and meaningful with who you devote your time to, your efforts do not deserve to be wasted.

In a relationship as beautiful as a friendship you deserve to be appreciated in the way you need to be and there should be equal love reciprocated.  How special is it for two people to exist at the same time and in the same space together and have one another choose them?  Friendships deserve to be nurtured.  You may have undergone painful friendships in the past, but you are growing every day, and you never have to endure a bad friend again. We are all worthy of a love that loves us back.