Friendships are hard.

Friendships are hard. They always have been. Because the line is blurry, it’s crooked, it’s confusing. Middle School, at one point seemed so close, now some distant memory of a shorter self. I felt for a long time that nothing had changed since I was thirteen. I had friends then and I remember what it felt like. Walking arm in arm and laughing, smiling, supporting one another in moments of absurdity. But then I forgot.

There is nothing more strange than being confronted by the people you used to know best. Taken hostage by some new version of themselves with new memories, new personalities, new lives. I tried to look hard into them and find the people that I’d left behind. I wanted to tell them I didn’t know how long it had been. I blinked and they were gone. But they were still there, just different.

But trying to salvage friendships with people you used to know is much more difficult than finding someone new. And so I did that for a while. A constant rotation of new. People who knew an inauthentic version of me, whichever version I felt like being that day. But then I’d change. Shifting frequently into something different or new. Hiding from the fact that one day they would leave too, so I would first.

And then I found some friends who knew me better than I knew myself. Or at least they knew my type. Failing to let me find my Friday nights alone, guilting me into looking at myself, and more importantly: admitting they felt the same as me. That sometimes being afraid of being alone is what gets you there in the first place. Well, anyways. It’s work. They’re hard. They don’t just end when you don’t get along. They gain traction when you say “I like you, despite knowing you.” And then it builds on that. A mutual respect for how human we are.

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