How many friends do you have? According to Facebook, I have 601 friends. But I don’t really have that many friends. I mean, I have a ton of acquaintances that I have met through work, class, my hobbies, and so on. But I don’t really have 600 friends. I have more like 5 close friends, maybe 30 people I consider friends but am not especially close to (of course, excluding family, who are my closest friends). Which leaves about 550 people unaccounted for. Which is pretty insane.
Of course, like many people, my 5 close friends have shifted over time. I know some people are lucky enough to maintain close relationships with their friends from preschool or earlier through college and into adulthood. And that’s great, more power too them. But most of us fall out of favor with friends. Which sucks. I mean, sure, sometimes it’s a good thing—typically we want to weed out the people who are just taking advantage of us or are poor influences over our being. But sometimes we lose friends that are people we really like, or were really good people to be around. Sometimes it happens with break ups, and mutual friend feel the need to “pick sides.” Those usually end up extremely bitter. Sometimes it happens completely by accident. People just get busy, move to different areas for work or school, and suddenly it becomes hard to talk to them as often as you used to.
And then there are the times where people cut you out of their lives. Those ones hurt the most. If you have ever had a significant other that was first a friend and then a lover, you know what I mean. Just the sudden “hey, I’m not into you anymore. At all.” And suddenly you can’t talk to them. What’s worse is that, in my experience, I always want to talk to those people. Because they are usually your best friends. The people who you have trusted with secrets, who you have confided in for various reasons, and probably had dinner dates that were less about getting in their pants and more about getting into their mind.
How do you get over that? Do you just shrug it off and move about your day like normal? That seems like the obvious way to do things, but important people to your life have a way of invading your thoughts. It’s impossible to talk to them—because they won’t respond. Personally, I try to get into contact with other friends. Remember those 30 friends that I am not especially close to? Those are the kind of people you can fall back on pretty easily. They are usually open to going to get dinner, they aren’t attached enough to you to obsess over your issues, but they are kind enough to listen and respond in ways that will help.
I know that many people could go to their families as well. Which is great, and probably one of the best outlets available to the average person. I have trouble with this though, not because my family isn’t supportive, but because I am extremely introverted about my social life outside my family. The people who know my friend groups the best are my other friends. So when I lose a friend, it is typically other friends that know the situation well enough to help me through it. The important part is that you be available for your friends, because they will be for you. And that’s how real bonds are built. By trusting other people.