This is the third & final part to “Graduating is 2 weeks away & I’m freaking out”, but I think it’s applicable to any time in life.
Some of you have incredibly fulfilling friendships right now. I am so thankful for that. You will go through seasons where friendships are rich and many. You will also go through seasons of terrible drought. Whether in the high or the low, I want you to remember that you were made to connect. God designed us to have a deep desire to connect with Him and with one another. That is why we are typically so content when life is full of wonderful relationships and why we are usually sullen or depressed when it seems we’re alone.
So if your standing in the middle of a room filled with your so-called-friends (friends you’ve spent time pouring into) and you’re feeling empty or wondering if it’s all in vain, here are my thoughts for you.
1. Sometimes it’s okay to walk away from “friends”. I see this happen a lot in college. You typically make your friends within the first week of college and hang onto them all year long. Many times I see students realize that the friends they first gravitated towards are not the friend-group they actually want to be a part of. They realize that the relationships don’t go very deep because they don’t share similar values or life perspectives. This is okay. Pursue new people and create new friendships.
2. As the saying goes, “Friends can be for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.” Corny but oh-so-true. I can look back on my life and pinpoint people who I am convinced were placed in my life for one very specific reason. Others certainly for a season like high school or college. But the most rare are the lifetime friendships. They are few and far between. And that is okay. Don’t expect every friend to be a lifetime friend. You will only ever have a handful of those. When you release people from the expectation that they are to be lifelong friends, you free them up to play the significant role they were meant to in that reason or season. Then, it’s easy to let go. You don’t need to hold on so tightly. God will provide the perfect friends for each season of your life!
3. If you are graduating college or high school, you are going to be surprised by who you stay close friends with. Both times, I have grown closer with people that we’re not my closest friends at the time. I have also watched friends slip out of my life when I was confident they would remain. Again, all of this is okay.
4. Love well but don’t die in loyalty. Treat other people better than they deserve. Show them crazy amounts of grace, love, and kindness. But if you’re amidst a group of “friends” that use you or you just don’t go that deep with, it is perfectly okay to take steps away from them. You should always keep moving and growing. If your friends aren’t moving with you, don’t stand still just for the sake of loyalty.
5. Finally, no relationship, no friendship is ever in vain. As we connect with others, we are always learning more about relating/trusting/loving others and about our own selves. Relationships refine us more than anything in life. Why? Because we were created to connect.
Take a few minutes to consider the community of friends you have. Are they deep and rich? Do they encourage and challenge you to grow? If not, do you need to make a change?