2002 and 2011
The other day I was reading back in my Livejournal and I came across an entry from 2008. I scrolled down through the comments and noticed that my best friend Sarah and I had had a little conversation right there about "fixing" our friendship. It struck me as notable, because this was the summer after I had gotten married. I remember pretty vividly not being in each other's lives very much during that time, but reading through our exchange there on that old website brought back all of the details I had somehow forgotten.
Sarah and I had gone to the same high school but didn't actually know each other over those four years. It wasn't until my sophomore year in college that we met via a mutual friend, who just so happened to be her then-boyfriend. He invited me over to hang out with their group of friends one night, and I still remember meeting Sarah for the very first time. She was this tiny little thing- part ballerina, part huge light-up-the-room smile, and her positive energy and excitement for life was contagious. We had an instant "oh my god I love you!" friendship connection. We spent hours and hours talking, and from that moment on we were inseparable. We did everything together- sleepovers, shopping, long nights out dancing, saw each other through tears and heartache, and later when she broke up with that boyfriend, we dated two new boys that happened to be friends too.
But then things changed and somehow we drifted apart. There were never hard feelings, but she got into a serious relationship at the same time I moved in with another group of friends, and we fell out of our norm. It would have been impossible to keep our friendship going at the same intensity- as life changes relationships change too. And although we understood this, we let what could have been a shift turn into a total end. Maybe it was the excitement of the new loves in our lives, maybe it was simple laziness, but soon enough our girly sleepovers were replaced with overnights with our significant others and our all night chat fests were interrupted by date nights. And even though we both got this shift- we each were so happy in these new lives- we didn't put the effort in with each other, we assumed we'd always be there, and consequently our friendship failed.
For years we didn't talk much. I thought about reaching out all of the time, and later I found out that she did too. It hurt a lot, losing someone I considered to be one of my closest friends, but I was never angry. I fully understood, but it was still sad. Time went by, and soon I was engaged to Hank. Sarah and her now-husband Andy came to the wedding and I still remember them being some of the last people there to see us off at the end of the night. I missed her so badly, and I still remember feeling sad she wasn't up there with me as a bridesmaid.
Over those next few months though we started talking more. We got back in touch, and we made plans to meet for lunch at Pita Jungle one summer day. I remember sitting in my car beforehand feeling so anxious- I felt as if so much had changed. What if we were totally different people? What if we didn't get along anymore? What if lunch was terribly awkward? What if, what if? But lunch came and went, and it was absolutely wonderful. It felt as if no time had passed- we laughed, we cried, then we laughed some more. She was still the same friend I'd always known. Yes, everything was different, we were different, but at our cores we were the same silly, fun-loving girls we'd always been. Our friendship had just taken a little break.
That fall we got back to being close. We spent weekends together, having sleepovers and crazy nights out. And for the next three years we continually put in the effort. It's weird though, to think back to that time we weren't in each others' lives. And even weirder was to stumble upon that aforementioned Livejournal comment, where Sarah talks about how sad it is that we aren't friends but that if it mattered, it was up to us to make the effort. "You take people for granted when you think they'll always be there and then POOF! one day they aren't and they've moved on..." It's remarkable to me to be able to see the turning point in our friendship- to see the moment when we both decide to move forward and start anew. I feel so grateful that we did decide to put forth effort, and at the same time it's horrible to think about us not doing that. I can't imagine my life without her.
I feel lucky to call quite a few amazing women my friends. Many of my closest friends don't live near by- one is off at college, another lives two hours south- but in each of these relationships, effort is so important. I might not talk to them everyday, and some not every week, but at the root of it, we know that we are there for each other. We keep it going. I am incredibly guilty of getting so wrapped up in my own life that I fail at holding up my end of the the friendship, but I consciously work at it and as I've gotten older I've gotten a little better at it. It can be hard, but what it comes down to is this: a connection is a connection, and in this life we meet so few people we genuinely click with that it would be a shame to not to put forth the effort to have that person in your life.
I thought of this as I stood up at Sarah's wedding this fall, as her Matron of Honor. I thought about how far we had come, abut how we almost lost such an important part of our lives. It's a true lesson in the power of action and just following through with the things that are in your heart. So often we think things like "I miss this person," or "I wish they were still in my life." Friendships and people can at times come and go as life changes, but I wonder if any of you have someone that you miss too. An old friend you fell our of touch with, a disagreement over something silly that you can't even remember now. Maybe you didn't put in effort, felt guilty, then avoided the situation. I've been there. Cheesy as it sounds, if any of this resonated with you, I encourage you to just make a call, send an email, and let that friend know you're thinking of them. I think about Sarah and how were went from years of not talking to spending a night like we did tonight, sitting on my old bed at my parents', giggling and tearing up while watching her wedding video. It's hard to move forward sometimes, but in the end I feel that if you have the desire to make the effort then you truly have nothing to lose. Because honestly, why not?
Thanks for reading. I hope you have the best night. :)