Lately, I have been standing by this fork in the road, and it took a friend to nudge me in what I now believe is the right decision.
Here are some things you have to know about me: 1) Although I can talk to people easily these days, I am actually an introvert. 2) I am very selective of the people I want to be around with. 3) I do not like the feeling of spinning out of control.
That being said, I was talking to one of my college friends, Kat, who, despite our glaringly different stances on church and religion, is still one of the people whose friendship lasted past our university days. At this point, we’ve been apart far longer than we’ve been together geography-wise, and we may not barge in each other’s dorm rooms on a regular basis anymore but as it turns out, you don’t need that kind of “togetherness” to be someone’s friend.
Anyway, back to our conversation. It started with Kat’s birthday greeting. As it has become with our friend group, birthday greetings come attached with meaningful messages, many of which I tend to re-read when things are especially crappy.
In her message, Kat was expressing how she really just wants me to be happy again, and how she hopes other people can see the side of me that I rarely ever show others.
To that, I told her that I’m a good friend to her because she’s also been a really good friend to me. As I put it, good friends deserve good friends. Our friendships are mere reflections of the people we surround ourselves with. I am an amazing friend to my amazing friends. To others, I’m indifferent, or worse, a raging bitch.
My college friends, for the most part, were more than just friends to me. They’re family. We helped mold each other to become the people we became as we left our former lives behind. And leave it behind, I did.
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Nur, who knew me since elementary school and who went to the same university as I did, noted that there was a moment when he knew I left the person I was behind. The big moment? When I hit the field for an inter-dorm game of football (soccer). While this may not seem like a big deal to most, my friends since forever (like Nur) knew how I stopped playing outdoors at age 10, and for most of my high school life, I kept to books and “heels” (at least as high as my parents would allow me, which isn’t much), and ultimately girly things.
At some point over the years, I realized that while my friends and I were always a solid group, we tend to outgrow people. As we outgrow them, how we treat them changes as well. For instance, what used to be “quirky” just becomes annoying, and what used to be “adorable” just becomes plain dumb. You get the picture — so we tend to lose more patience, and we start to drift apart.
For the past few years, I have been telling myself that I should get rid of toxicity. Maybe it’s out of habit, but letting go of toxic people is more difficult than it sounds. Maybe because I have friends of convenience, or because I am holding on to people who represented a life from long ago, toxicity is not as easy to leave behind.