Q: I have two close-ish friends that I hang out with at school and sometimes out of school. I like them both and they are both great but they don't like any of the stuff I'm into. What should I do? - Anonymous
A: My answer is short and sweet. Most of the time you align yourself with people who like the same things you do or share similar values to you. Other times it’s history and a common experience that binds people together… like you and your best friend from preschool might not be instant friends if you met today. In my life right now, I don’t really have a friend group and I’ve realized in my life that I surround myself with individuals who I can (this is oversimplified but) attribute with distinct qualities… Each of these core friends may possess a quality that parallels a trait of my own or a quality that nicely counterbalances my own personality. For example, a friend who is a strict rule follower, another who is spontaneously unaccountable, a flirt, or someone who is more of a bookworm. I couldn’t prioritize these archetype friendships in my life. Sure, I have more fun with one or get in less trouble with another, feel exhilarated (but continually betrayed) with this friend, yet sheepish and insecure with that friend. I want to talk about molding your personality to get along with whomever you are with in another post but that’s besides the point.
In the most long winded way I could have possibly stated my short and sweet answer to your question, I’ll let you know that loyal and kind people are surprisingly difficult to come by. I know people who I have grown apart from, people that no longer enjoy the same things I do, people that I more often than not have a difficult time relating to at this moment in my life. BUT what I’ve realized is that I can’t expect someone to progress in the exact same direction or pace that I am or want the same things I do. My mom suggested that it’s the closest friendships where you push yourself to meet your friends where they are…. Think more of who you want to be in the long run, and how you bring out the best in each other.
The two friends from school might be into something different from you and no one’s forcing you to stay best friends with them but sometimes you feel yourself wanting to slip away… even if they are loyal, kind, and will always be there.
I say you take a step back and appreciate these people for who they are and what they do offer. I’ve spent too much time critiquing friendships for what they are not instead of letting people be who they are without fighting it. Examine where you differ and learn from your incongruities. You may loosen your grip. They might notice you retreating but it will occur unbeknownst to you. In the time you used to devote to them, you will explore niche relationships in the many new paths you navigate…. the shared interests that entice you to others in this moment. I think looking back at your life in 20 years, you’ll be happy you made an effort to remain loyal and found the harmony between the comfort and strength of your old friendships and your new wants. Switching groups can feel abrupt and deliberate, but you’ll realize that friendships are not all or nothing… you don’t have to fully end one thing to begin something new.
Hope this makes sense. Kind of felt poetic writing this.
We got this,