As they mature, infants and toddlers begin to understand two things: just because something cannot be seen or experienced does not mean it has ceased to exist, and key people in their lives will eventually return.
I, on the other hand, have not come to this understanding, especially regarding friendships. For me, friendships are like games in the Colosseum. If I cannot feel a tangible connection, I must fight to reestablish it.
And ultimately, I am disposable. A throw-away when the next big sensation comes.
Few people in this life have told me they will always be there, and even fewer actually have.
Because I’ve often been left for a better option, I’ve begun performing a series of gymnastics, mentally and emotionally distancing myself from friends, bracing for the inevitable letdown. Somehow, I always allow myself to be put into these situations, recklessly diving into friendships.
The promise of a “forever friend” is too seductive, and so I go for it. I dare to believe that they won’t leave me. Soon, I discover my foolishness and begin to question whether those months of bliss were worth it.
Like radar detecting changes in the atmosphere, I pick up on small changes in friendships. Messages that relay to me that I am in trouble, yet again.
Conversations change, scheduled hangouts change, mutual interests change.
So, I try to reestablish or reassess my standing in the friendship. What can I do to show my importance, my value? Who can I become to liven up the friendship? What can I do when my friendship begins to disappear?
Ultimately, I can do nothing. When something I love becomes less tangible, I weep, for I know what is coming.
To minimize the pain to come, I pull away. I put myself in the background so that when I am put there relationally, I feel nothing. It is difficult to be present with people you know will — sooner or later — grow uninterested in you.
It is difficult to develop friendships knowing your value is temporary.
But like a fool who returns to his folly, I still want it. I want friendship, community. A best friend.
Is it too much to ask to be someone’s numero uno, a right-hand man? Is it cliché to ask for a David and Jonathan relationship? How do you feel about the temporality/longevity of friendship?
* Photo courtesy infomastern, Creative Commons.