Old Friend

There are people in our lives whom we remain friends with for no other apparent reason than we have been friends with them for such a long time. They have woven the inextricable threads of friendship throughout time; pulling at those threads could result in the entire tapestry falling apart.

The tone might suggest that we remain intimate with old friends for the pragmatic (and very unfriendly) reason that it would simply be too difficult or uncomfortable to end the relationship now after considering how far you have grown apart.

But there is another reason for keeping contact with old friends. They grant us a vantage point into a version of ourselves that we no longer are. Within the friendship is a time capsule of memories that reveal a life lived and a vista of the previous person we were.

Again, this sounds like keeping someone around because of the memories we shared and not because of genuine friendly love. And, to an extent, this retort is correct, yet there is value in being able to reminisce, not only because it reveals who you used to be, but because it also reveals the reason you became (and remain) friends in the first place.

It can be a scary prospect to tell someone that despite all the good times (and bad) you shared, you are no longer compatible. But you live, not for others, but for yourself. If you cannot be true to your feelings, the friendship disintegrates into a farce of false feelings and manufactured kindness. It will have all the embellishments of friendship without any of the substance. It is far kinder and ironically, more friendly, to tell someone it is over than to pretend that it isn’t.

There comes a time where we must take stock of our own lives; ponder, consider and reflect on who we were and who we now are. People are not tools; one should not simply have a friend because they are useful or gratifying. We grow and we change; as do others. Much like our wardrobe or study, our friendships should be free of clutter and unnecessary items. Old friendships can be beautiful recordings of who we were and instructions on how we can be better in the future; but they can also be sources of conflict, dismay and disappointment. It is up to us to decide and act accordingly.

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