This morning I was at Church and during the Peace I turned around and saw a boy who had been in the year below me at primary school sitting a few rows behind me. He was someone I hadn’t liked at school; he was rude and annoying and not at all my kind of person. But we smiled at each other and after the service I went over and had a little chat with him. It was very basic conversation, all the usual ‘How are A-Levels going?’ ‘Are you enjoying uni?’ ‘What are you going to do next year?’, but it was nice to catch up with someone I knew so long ago, and he was really friendly and polite.
A year or so ago I wrote a post on here which was a letter to someone I had been friends with for years, but actually hadn’t liked him for most of that time, and I finally felt he’d been too horrible to me too many times, and I was done with him. But mid-way through last summer I suddenly found that we were real friends again. I’m still a bit upset to think of some of the things he said, and it took a while to trust him as a friend, but we’ve both grown up a lot since then, and what remained was a friendship which has survived through a lot. On the last night of my summer holidays I said to him that I felt bad that I’d spent so long hating him, then ended up being so sad about moving away from each other. He replied that it was probably his fault, everything that had happened, and he was sorry. It was nice to have him say that, but I didn’t need it. I’d forgiven him months earlier without even realising what was happening.
When you move away for university (I’m sure this happens other times to, but uni is rather unique in that everyone leaves and comes back at the same times), it often makes you realise a lot about your friends. I’ve been surprised by missing some friends from home more than I expected, and some who I used to be close to but can know go months without talking to. I’ve also made new friends, some amazing friends who have made me realise how badly treated I was by some of my old friends. But I still love my old friends.
But the point is, people (especially young people) change so much. This can lead to people drifting apart; there are people I was inseparable from at one time who I now haven’t seen (or wanted to see) for years. But it also leads to becoming close friends – or just friendly acquaintances – with people you once thought you couldn’t stand the sight of.
I always hate the idea that there are people I will just never see again, but that does happen in life. In these days of social media it is easy to at least keep up to date on what people are doing, which I like, but I still try to stay properly in contact with as many people as possible. I’m lucky because my family and upbringing has been such that there are a lot of people from my past I still see around. A lot of my childhood friends were the children of my parents’ friends, I live in a small village with a strong community so I see people at events throughout the year. And my large but close circle of friends has meant I stay in touch with people even when I might not choose to; for instance that friend who I saw every day even when I disliked him so much, and I still regularly see both my exs which I know would be unthinkable to many people.
But as we grow up and people move away for good I know there will be a lot of friends I lose. But while I still see people from my past I will be sure to always be open, and remember that they are not the same person they were in the past. Because I discovered this morning that even with someone you have bad memories of, there is always a special connection to people if there is history there.
This has been slightly rambling, as I have so many thoughts about friends and growing up and changing and connections with people, but I hope you were able to follow it.
And Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates it (if you don’t I wish you happiness anyway).