Yael Kaufman on handling the loss of relationships
I have trouble giving up on people.
As a kid, I tried to make friends with everyone. I never made trouble and stayed away from drama — that was enough back then. I had a lot of friends and I had a lot of play dates. I was happy.
As I grew older and wiser, having had more experiences, I became more selective about with whom I spent my time. I filtered. I found good friends. I drifted from others. Naturally, as I became more selective, I became more stubborn and my grip grew a little tighter. I handpicked those whom I kept close.
I’ve finally learned that we can’t corral people into a pen and lock them away forever. They won’t stay put and we shouldn’t have to convince them otherwise. It seems obvious enough that relationships, like all other things, change, grow or dissipate. That doesn’t mean it’s an easy thing to accept.
Time has turned close friends into distant acquaintances. Our lives are in constant motion. We change each day. Sometimes, we forget that the people who surround us also change every day. Some relationships may grow together, shift and bend in ways that make them fit comfortably. Some relationships are more forgiving and hang on for the sake of the love that was once binding and now hangs around as a memory. But some don’t last. Some get destroyed, some disappear slowly and some cease to exist abruptly.
I viewed this reality as something negative for a long time. It really pissed me off to know that the people to whom I was so close could quite easily abandon our friendship. It always felt really sad, like deceit, like abandonment. The kind of feeling that makes tears well up in the back of your throat; the kind of sad that lingers and lingers.
Granted, it’s not always so emotional. Sometimes, it’s as simple as “Woah, I haven’t talked to so-and-so in 3 years. What happened?” But sometimes, it does reach that point and poof, that person with whom you shared so much is no longer part of your life.
The last time I went through this, I tried to separate myself from the experience and understand things a little differently. I realized that people come into your life for a reason and spend the time they’re meant to spend with you that they’re meant to spend. When they’re no longer in your life, it’s because they’re no longer supposed to be there.
Upon choosing to think about things in this way, it’s incredibly easy to be positive. Instead of focusing on the loss, you can start to focus on the beautiful things each person brought into your life. Knowing that your relationship had a purpose and convincing yourself that ultimately, the purpose was achieved is a great way to gain closure.
We are all moving and changing. We need different things from the world at different times in our lives. We want different things. We view the world in different lights. We are all essentially just bumping into each other, stuck together until another crack in the road sends us free falling into something or someone else.
You don’t have to feel loss. You don’t have to feel sad. You can view your individual relationships as meaningful for what they were. You can send them on their way when they’re through. You can look forward to the new.
Keep your friends close. Nurture your friendships and do right by the people you love. Let people know that you love them. Surround yourself with friends who make you better. You can’t save all friendships and the ones that can’t be saved are sometimes the ones that don’t need to be. You can never know the direction in which people will go and grow and change.
Try your best to keep the people you really appreciate in your field of vision at all times, but understand that life has its own way of throwing us around. Understand that these are just realities. It doesn’t feel good to give up on people or relationships but sometimes, holding on feels worse.
By YAEL KAUFMAN
This post originally appeared at Elite Daily. Reprinted with permission.
Photo by Flickr/Moyan Brenn