Reframing How You See Ephemeral Relationships
People dance in and out of your life, but there may be a deeper meaning behind brief encounters.
I‘m staring down the bridge crossing into my 29th year. I’ve moved around a lot, struggled to maintain friendships, and I’ve felt the slow sting of gradually losing people more times than I care to count. I’m a person who decided to prioritize my career, despite some of the friendships it’s cost me along the way. There are a lot of reasons I had to prioritize my career (since there were a few times in my life when I nearly faced homelessness as I didn’t have a family to fall back on), but it still came at a great cost sometimes.
There were a lot of years in my life where I’d be working twelve-hour shifts for days on end and cramming homework into every other free hour. Because of that, as much as I tried to keep up with friends who I cared for and be there for them, my availability was so tight that there were a lot of times I just couldn’t.
I’m by no means a psychologist or relationship specialist, but I’ve learned a few things from losing people when it was undoubtedly my fault. I read a book recently that nudged me to start thinking about relationships a little bit differently. Changing my thought process around how I approach these connections is helping me navigate the gradual loss of a very close friendship. That’s why I’m sharing this story; while I may not be an expert, a few little nuggets of experience can still teach a lot.
Not every person in your life needs to be a constant.
I used to go kicking and screaming about the loss of close relationships. Taking a cue from Dylan Thomas, I very much did not go gentle into that good night. When I would see myself drifting away from a romantic interest or close friend, I would bend over backward to make myself more available, try and give that person more time, and more attention.
People will come and go in our lives. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, or even something unnatural. Even though there are a lot of strategies suggested by psychologists about how to let go of people, circumstances, and things, it’s tricky to put them into practice. Learning the strategies of being…