I guess it depends on your definition of friendship and the expectations you have for it, but I really can't think of a time in a human's life when friendship is easy. As an only child, and a product of divorce, I had a difficult time relating to my peers. In elementary school, I coped with this by simply NOT relating to them, but rather hanging out with teachers at recess, talking about life and the meaning of it. You know, simple kid stuff.
I've been blessed with incredibly special friends, particularly in my adult life. My relationships aren't perfect. They take work, because at any age, friendship is hard. I've always known this. We aren't tethered to our friends in the way we're tethered to a spouse, so on the surface, it may not seem like friends have the ability to jolt our emotional state, but they can. Friendship has the power to rock your world and rattle your nerves. Friendship can raise you up and it can take you down. Friendship has the power to test your boundaries and it can comfort your heart. Friendship can change you. Enrich you. Madden you. Bless you. And the thing about friendship is that when things go wrong, you either have to work it out, or go your separate ways, because unlike a romantic relationship, you can't have sex with your friend, in order to bridge the gap between angry and resolved. (Unless you do have sex with your friend, in which case, never mind.)
WHAT am I even talking about?!
Clearly, friendship has been on my mind lately, as Mercury has moved retrograde and it feels like my relationships are a sh*t show, in general. Honestly, in a lot of ways, my self-worth and self-esteem have always been so dependent upon how I feel about my friendships; am I being a "good" friend? Am I giving enough? Am I taking too much? Am I available? Is this friend available to me? Do people even want to be my friend? Sometimes I want to send a mass text to everyone in my phone each morning that says: "Hi! Are we okay? Are we still friends? Are you mad at me? No? Okay! LoveYouBye!" But that ain't cool. So instead, I always have open and honest dialogues with my friends each and every day, to make sure our souls are still aligned with one another's. Haha, just kidding. I stay quiet and on edge, and bite my nails and cry. Just kidding. I don't do that, either. Never mind.
I have a hard time when friendships change. I feel frustrated when friendships dwindle, lose their "spark". I feel sad when a friendship ends. I feel nervous when a friend seems to be "replacing" me with someone else, someone way cooler. I'm twenty-nine and I have all these feelings. It's okay. It's normal. And if there's one thing I learned from my Dad --who took friendship very seriously-- it is that there are different types of friendship and different levels of friendship:
Type of friendship pertains to the overall "style" and rhythm of the relationship. For example, the type of friendship you have with your friend "Mandy" could be one in which you need to hang out face-to-face in order to feel close to one another, while the type of friendship you have with your friend "Monroe" may be one in which you only text/email/Facebook message.
Level of friendship measures the degree of intimacy. *NOTE: The type of friendship doesn't always predict or represent the level of it. Like, just because you and your friend Mandy prefer to hang in person, doesn't necessarily mean you have deep, powerful, soul-defining conversation. Meanwhile, your text-only relationship with Monroe may boast a lot of intimacy and space for lots of emotional release and secret-keeping. And clearly, we can't expect all our friendships to be the same type or on the same level. Kapeesh?
I dunno, does this help? Is this new to you? Weird? I guess what I want you to hear is: Friendship is a responsibility. It's tough. And it's tougher when we expect all out friendships to look and feel the same, socially, emotionally, etc. Be open to and aware of the different types and different levels of YOUR friendships. Try looking at them through this lens for a few days. Or not. I dunno. Take it from me. Take it from my Dad. Take it from Lifetime: Television for Women Who Literally Know Everything About Friendship...and How to Cry Over It.