“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obselete” -R. Buckminster Fuller
I’d like to start by saying that I have this group of friends from my undergrad that are so many things, things that range from absolutely amazing to downright stubborn. These friends vary in their degrees of fortitude and apathy, ambition and ease of presence, and I adore each of them for being who they are, despite the times that I grow very frustrated when decisions they make, driven by who they are, upset me. Since moving to NYC, I’ve become closer with some of those friends, for many of them live here, and I’ve grown apart from some due to distance and life, as it goes.
I’m telling you about these beautiful humans for a couple of reasons, and not the for the obvious one that they’re majority redheads (it’s a thing, in my life). The intense pride I feel when I speak about them and their accomplishments is overwhelming. These are some of my oldest friends, and we have stuck together and been there for each other over many years and many miles. Some have lived abroad, some still are*, and even though we’re all spread across the country right now, our connections are stronger than ever. My point in telling you all of this is to explore with you what friends like these should do if they feel one of their own start to slip away. Like, really slip away.
I have a tendency to frantically try and form traditions or push everyone to meet up in a certain place, hoping it will remind us what got us here in the first place, why we all became friends. It worked a few times, but as time has progressed, it’s been harder and harder for everyone to find the time. How do you tell your friends that you’re scared we’re all going to fall apart? That these friendships have been the capstone of the most important years of your life and to think of a future without them is physically painful? How do you tell them that you fundamentally disagree with a decision that has a huge impact on their life without risking the chance that they’ll run from you and that’ll be the end? You want to protect them and tell them how you see it from your point of view, but you know it’s not something they want to hear. Do you lie? Is it more important to protect them from themselves, or to protect the friendship that you don’t want compromised? I’ve been struggling with these questions a lot lately.
They say that it gets easier as you get older, but I don’t agree with that. The problems don’t become easier, they become different, and generally, they come with more to lose. As a Millennial, I see sometimes this mindset with people my age, that if you have a simple disagreement, screw it. You’ve got 1300 FB friends and 800 followers on Insta and Cardi B follows you on Twitter so pshhh girl you’re fine, people love you, you’re doing alright. I hate that. I understand it to an extent, but I hate it. Likes and follows aren’t gestures of love, they’re gestures of boredom or envy. I sometimes think I’m the only one that feels this way. The only one that takes these relationships so seriously.
So the question is.. do I keep fighting? Or is it hopeless?
*Shoutout to Mitch, still kicking ass abroad to this day!