The Value of Short-Lived Friendships

In most cases you’re probably not entering into a new friendship saying,”Well, we’ll probably be friends for a few months and then this will fade away.” You make friends to stay close, unless you just get to know someone while you’re at a conference or visiting another friend for the weekend. However, there are many instances when you develop a relationship with someone who ends up being short-lived. Perhaps it’s because the person moves, or maybe your schedules conflict and don’t allow you to spend time together. Maybe you end up having a falling out and neither person sees the point in working past the issue. You were only friends for a brief time, after all.

I’ve found that short-lived friendships are both painful and also beneficial, depending on how you approach them. Because of the fact that no one expects their bond to disintegrate quickly, it’s always upsetting when your friendship comes to a close. You feel sad when you realize that you’ve stopped texting like you used to, or that you haven’t seen the other person in weeks. You may even feel bitter when it’s clear that the friendship will never be like it used to. When you start thinking about the fond memories that you’ve shared together, you’ll probably get hit with a wave of nostalgia. These are all normal reactions. However, it’s important to realize that short-lived friendships can be a powerful tool to help you learn something about yourself.

Last year, I had a short-lived friendship. It was when I was at my other job, and I became friends with a co-worker. We were very close for a few months, but our friendship quickly faded and then we broke up. Looking back on the situation, I’ve realized that after I got my new job and we were no longer co-workers, we just didn’t have that much in common. Conversations became forced and awkward. At first I was bitter about the whole thing, and also a little sad. This person played a huge role in my life, and now it was as if the friendship had never happened. I started to question whether the relationship was ever genuine at all. However, then I realized something: While the friendship may have disappeared, I did learn a lot from the experience. Back when we were close, my friend and I would talk frequently about my desire to pursue writing, and my fears about leaving the family business. The friendship was an important support tool as I made this move.

Instead of looking at the experience as a negative, sad thing, I know now that the relationship was an important one. Even though it only lasted for a period of time, in that particular moment it was helpful. I enjoyed the friendship and learned something. It’s easy to carry around heaviness when a friendship ends, but much more beneficial to realize that these relationships are useful, even if the other person doesn’t end up participating at your wedding and retiring in the house next to yours.  They have meaning during a certain period in your life, and that’s what matters.

Have you ever had a short-lived friendship? Was the experience beneficial? Sad? A bit of both?

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