With all its ups and downs there’s one unique caveat about being an only child. For most of my childhood, my cousins were my ‘siblings’, the brothers and sisters I never had. My extended family was very tight-knit so my cousins and I literally grew up together (I used to form ‘clubs’ with them, for crying out loud 🤣).
You can imagine then, how this extended into other relationships I formed with children my age. I attended an all-girls’ Catholic primary school, which heavily encouraged extracurricular activities of all kinds, and my parents encouraged me to join something. My parents were busy people raising a busy daughter. I took swim classes, sang in two choirs, I did African dance, tried karate (hated it) and of course, the annual Christmas concerts. All of these fun activities were done along with my classmates who – you guessed it – were my sisters by proxy.
Outside the school gates? Oh, inseparable there too. We took ‘extra lessons’ together, we had sleepovers, we invited each other to our yearly birthday parties. Life was good, and in my eyes, my friends, my sisters were great. I got along with everyone, everyone got along with me, and I thought that was just how the world worked. You could pretty much say my friends and I were the perfect picture of #friendshipgoals. The only thing we were probably missing were matching friendship bracelets.
The transition from primary school to secondary school (high school) saw us naturally going our own separate ways, as we most of us were assigned to different schools after A-levels (I should probably mention that my home country’s education system is modeled after the British one).
Accepting Harsh Truths About Friendship
Part naïveté, part — ok mostly naïveté, I started secondary school with the same idealistic mindset of ‘Friends are the sisters I never had’. It was then, for seven years, and onward, that life introduced me to a few realities about friendships that I had to accept fast. The idea of friendships drifting apart after awhile never dawned on me.
Some, I was too stubborn to accept and had to face over and over again until I did. Let me explain:
When friendships ended, I had to learn, above anything else to manage my expectations of others.
I had to learn that when we’re young, we’re perfectly imperfect and sometimes flighty, trying to figure out the world and our place in it. Sometimes that includes liking different things at different times and sometimes liking the company of different people.
I had to learn to embrace moments for what they were and take the good from it all, even if they ended.
I had to learn that the end of a season (and sometimes, a particular friendship ends up being just that, a season) always means the beginning of a new one, and to be patient for that new one to begin.
What are some things that you’ve learned thanks to friends past, or the friendships that you have now?
Chime in below!