It’s OK to Check On Old Friends After You Have Grown Apart

“Things change, and friends leave, and life doesn't stop for anybody.” 
   

- Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

In life, as time passes it’s evident that friendships and relationships come and go. The people that we started with may not be the people that we end with. Every friendship is unique in the sense that the people that we are drawn to are the ones that we handpick and choose ourselves. This person is not our family...we are not obligated to love them or even like them. But, for some reason commonalities drew us to that person.

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Whether it be liking the same color in kindergarten, having the same classes in middle school, having a crush on the same boy in high school, or randomly bonding at a party in college. It’s not uncommon that we tend to grow apart from some of the people that we were the closest to. Priorities shift and life happens. Growing apart is unequivocally a part of growing up.

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We do not always grow in the same direction as the people that we cared most about. There will come a day where the commonalities that you once shared with that person will no longer be valid. However, the memories will always be there no matter what.

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Despite this jarring reality, there is a certain sense of nostalgia just knowing that you had this innate bond with someone. No matter what, there will always be a place in your heart for that person --- your old BFF, your old homie, and your dear old friend. There is no shame in growing apart from someone you once were close with, the greatest gift that we gain from old friendships are the lessons that we learn from that relationship (whether good or bad). 

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Recently, someone that I used to call one of my best friends passed away. Stunned when I received the news, I immediately began thinking of all the good memories that we shared back when we used to be close. Our close friendship only lasted a few years during middle school, however, it was the kind of friendship where I would always occasionally wonder how that person was doing after we had grown apart. Being a twenty-something-year-old, who has experienced a lot of life and schooling, I have been close and drifted apart from many people. Lately, especially after hearing of my old friends passing, I have been thinking about all of the people I used to be close to. Realizing that just because we’ve grown apart doesn't mean there is any harm in, occasionally, checking in. 

It’s so important to remember to check on the people that you care/used to care about. 

Now, I’m not saying to go out of your way to check on the person that did you wrong and you had to end the friendship for your own well-being. I’m talking about the friends that, with life and time, you just happened to drift apart (or you guys left your friendship on good terms). 

Reading their status on Facebook and commenting....or liking their photo on Instagram isn't the same as actually seeing how they are doing. Recently, I have been seeing some old friends post some alarming things on their Facebook page and instead of messaging them and asking them how they are doing, I would scroll by and say to myself, “Dang, I hope they are okay.” As unsettling as it is, I hadn’t realized how important it is to check up on people until the recent loss of my old friend. 

For the twenty-somethings that are out there, I am sure that we are at a point in our lives where we are just now looking back on all of the friends that we used to have and a realizing that every friendship is not meant to last. Every relationship has its season that it is meant to withstand. Even if that season has come and gone, make an effort to call that person...text them...shoot them a message on Facebook or Snapchat (whatever works for you). Just let them know that you’re thinking about them every once in a while. 

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There’s a sense of contentment in knowing that someone is thinking of you. 

There is also a sense of contentment for you, knowing that you took the time out just to see how an old friend is doing. Trust me, there is a certain feeling of unease when you don’t have the chance to let someone know that you have thought about them often because they are no longer here. 

If I’ve gone a few weeks without seeing or hearing from some of my current close friends, I can expect a single text with a lot of “looking” emoji’s or a simple crass text message saying, “Just making sure you’re still alive,” These simple messages make me feel at ease knowing that someone is thinking of me. It makes me wonder, what if my old close friends don’t have friends like these? Friends that check in to see how they are doing? Friends that make them feel like they are being thought of. My eyes have been opened to the fact that I need to be that person for those people. 

As I said, it’s not entirely uncommon that the people we start with aren’t the ones that we end with. However, it should be innate for us to check in on them from time to time. Letting them know that despite the drift in your friendship, they will always be an important piece of your life. 

Don’t wait until it’s too late to show someone that you still care. 

So, while you’re snooping on that person’s Facebook page, watching their Snapchat stories, reading their tweets, or browsing through their Instagram pictures, take the time out and send them, “Hey, how are you. I was just thinking about you,” or “We’re not close anymore, but I’ll be here if you need me.” I promise it’ll make a small difference on both ends. 

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Dedicated to the old friend that I wish I would've checked on. Rest in peace.