“If a friendship lasts 7 years, it will last forever.”
Your Facebook newsfeed is probably filled with this quote. I personally don’t think there’s much truth to it.
*Petunia and myself were friends for more than a decade. We became close friends when we were in the same team for our Kemahiran Hidup cooking class.
When we turned 18, we went to different schools for STPM. Somehow, we got even closer with us passing notes and letters through our mutual friends. On school holidays, we wrote each other letters and postcards to update each other. We bonded over our many crushes, heartbreaks and drama.
Our friendship was unbreakable until we attended the same college.
We started distancing ourselves and hung out with different cliques of friends. Our priorities eventually shifted according to our lifestyles, which was probably one of the factors why our friendship slowly faded away.
She, then, moved to Melbourne for good and we stopped keeping in touch. That’s when my friendship with Petunia ended.
But I did learn 3 lessons from the decade long friendship of mine with Petunia.
It takes effort to keep in touch.
Honestly, I find it difficult to keep in touch with friends as I grow older. Yes, now there’s social media like Facebook and Instagram, but even so, keeping in touch is hard work.
My close friends are mostly working abroad, so our only way to keep in touch is through WhatsApp text messaging. We’re all busy, but we always have time to make a simple joke or share a meme to stay in touch with each other. Also, after watching the same movie together, we’ll discuss it over WhatsApp – that’s how we stay in touch with each other.
Embrace each other’s differences
Our personalities tend to change as we grow older, and so does our perception of many other aspects of life.
My friends and I have different priorities, but we learn to embrace and respect each other’s priorities regardless. I often prioritize my family and husband, while my friends prioritise having a good career instead. Sometimes we disagree on which is more important, but we learn to be more open to each other’s opinions.
Listening is also another way we embrace each others’ differences. If my friend wanted to change his career for example, I would simply listen to him – after all, he would do the same for me.
You cannot force friendship.
Sometimes, some relationships are more important over friendships. Family for example, should be more important than friends. Balancing these can be tricky sometimes, but that’s just Life – you have to learn to prioritise.
I lost a few friendships over the years, simply because I couldn’t juggle my friendships, relationships, and career. Though I lost some friends over the years, I’ve also gained new ones. In fact, some of the people I’m closest to now are my colleagues from work.
After all, people come and go in your life and you simply cannot force friendship. If it no longer works, perhaps the best decision is to let go.
I’m no expert in friendships. But one thing I did learn – friendship is a bond, a connection between two or more people which lasts for a long time if everyone makes the effort to keep it. As cheesy as it sounds, some friendships do last forever.
*Not real name
For more articles on friendships, read 4 Signs You’re in a Toxic Friendship (And Why You Need to Leave), and Can Ex(es) Stay as Friends? Malaysians Weigh In.