I reflected on my past relationships and realized the coronavirus pandemic fractured, broke, and fizzled them. The world is becoming smaller, and we’re all confined to our homes. This happened unexpectedly for many of us. We all went through a period of self-isolating with our immediate families (for those who had to move back home with their parents, like I did), practicing social distance when we got out of the house, and seeing less of our loved ones.
I realized that COVID-19 impacted a number of my relationships. This played out in many breakups, distancing myself from them, and muting their notifications on social media. It’s taken me a year to fully confront that I lost a best friend last year. They were my everything. We confided in and were there for each other, and hours-long hangouts at bars and at each other’s places ended with countless memories and text messages just moments after one left the other. And then, inexplicably, our hangouts and text messages were strained and awkward, and our friendship was drifting apart.
In retrospect, I was distancing myself from the world at the time, trudging through moments of silence, and writing my feelings through journaling. I resented them for not recognizing it and not asking if I was okay. For all I know, they’re mired in their own problems. There were birthday texts here and there, but that’s about it. We stopped being friends, but we still respected each other.
Then, another friendship ended, in a case where one thought they knew everything from spending hours and days on the internet and having no experience in the real world. This friend didn’t believe in a word one has to say from experience, and thought ideas were only valid if they came from research. Another one ended after texting back and forth about their rude comments on kids giving back to their parents. What we had was thrown out the window. Eventually, I noticed there were many friends leaving my side. I can’t even count on my hands the number of lost friendships that happened in the span of months.
You may ask questions about why certain friendships ended in your life. What happened? Who’s responsible for it? Did I see this coming? Could I have stopped it? These questions echoed in my mind, as I waited in anticipation to know more on what I could’ve done on my part. But something I realized is some people come into your life either for a lifetime or season. You have to pick and choose who will benefit in your life.
Friendships are a two-way street; you and the other have to put forth 50% and do whatever it takes to save the friendship — not one puts forth 75% and the other only does 25% on their part of the friendship. You have to set the friendships free if this happens and consider whether or not there will be a possible reconciliation in the future. As a result, some friendships are not what they used to be because of growth. You can outgrow friends because you’re going in a new direction.
At that time, I didn’t acknowledge and process many unraveled friendships at the time. Why? I’ll admit that I was ashamed that I failed them, especially with everything going on: many of us were fighting for our jobs, completing school, saving marriages, and protesting rights. Some of us had lost loved ones because of the pandemic or due to sickness. No one had a chance to say goodbye to their loved ones. Or maybe, friends were dealing with a trauma that happened in their childhood and suffering the pain, which they did not address early on and were still angry about the past. I realized that there are people in this world who are born to be ill. You can’t have expectations for friends because once you find out about that person later on, you’ll be disappointed.
And as you get older, forgiveness takes over, and it doesn’t mean you hold onto the past. You release the pain the person put on you and set it free. You accept what has happened to you. It’s not imaginary — it’s reality. You cannot let the past get to you because you’ll be stuck living in the past.
So, what’s next? Now we’re in 2022, and I hope this will be better than last year. I’m building a relationship with myself and not letting anyone take my happiness away. And while I’m making new friends, I make sure to be vulnerable and authentic because it’s a great investment. When building friendships, focus on the quality of the connection, not the quantity. The relationships I have now are solid as gold, and I’m holding onto them.