I’ve learnt a lot about friends in the last two weeks. I’ve learnt that there are two specific types of friends, and I’m sure you’ve heard or experienced both before: loyal and fake.
Loyal friends. Now, isn’t that a nice word? Loyal. It rolls off your tongue. It gives you a warm feeling in the pit of your stomach, like that you experience when you take a sip of coffee and you can feel it sliding down into your stomach. Loyal friends give me that feeling. They call or text to ask how you’re doing. They ask you to hang out with them, which is a nice change from feeling like you’re always the one making all the plans. They enjoy spending time with you, and aren’t afraid to say so. When you’re together, nothing else really matters. You forget about the homework assignment you’re struggling with, or the argument you had with your sister yesterday. When you’re laughing with them, the world around you kind of disintegrates. They’re always there for you. When you’re upset about something, they ask if you’re okay, even when they know you’re not. And if you snap at them out of anger, or cut them off for a few days because you’re in a bad mood or going through something, they’re still there when you pull your head back to reality and realise how stupid you’ve been.
On the other hand, fake friends are possibly the closest thing I’ve come across that can literally break your heart within seconds. They give you an uncomfortable feeling. A sick feeling. A feeling that instantly makes you think ‘what have I done wrong?’. They are not pleasant, or at all lovely. The worst thing about fake friends is you usually don’t figure out that they’re fake until they’ve used you and left you in the dust. You could be at the beach with them, having fun and laughing like you would with a loyal friend, and suddenly you’ll see some people you know, introduce them, and who gets left behind? You. Or maybe you’ve been hanging out with them at school for months on end. You wait for each other after class every day, and no matter what happens, you always sit together. Then one day, someone else comes along. Somewhere better. Someone more popular. And suddenly, you’re sitting by yourself. Or, maybe you think you’ve finally found a best friend. Someone you think is the most perfect person you could think of. Someone who has all the loyal friend qualities, but somehow still manages to come out as a fake. Everything is well and good, until their family moves away. They say ‘I promise I won’t forget you. I’ll come and see you. I’ll text you every day!’
A month later and you’ve heard nothing, except for the daily social media updates that tell you they’ve made new friends and haven’t had a second thought about you. I mean, it makes sense. Obviously if you move hours away, its hard to stay in touch. But it doesn’t make it hurt any less.
That’s the hard thing about growing up. I’m turning sixteen at the end of this year, and I’m looking forward to it. I get my Learner’s license, I get a bit more freedom to think for myself and make some of my own decisions, and I’m on my way to getting a new job and making my own money. But with all the adult responsibilities, comes all the emotional rollercoasters you have to ride in order to figure out who you are. You lose old friends, but you also gain new ones. You decide that when you promised yourself at age ten that you’d ‘never wear makeup’ and always ‘stay natural’, you weren’t thinking straight. Makeup makes you feel better about yourself and more appealing to the eyes of those you want to impress when you’re going out. Things you promised yourself you would never do, become things you begin to desire. Sneaking out to go to that party doesn’t seem so bad anymore. Maybe if you use a firmer tone with your parents, they’ll take you more seriously and stop treating you like a two-year-old. Maybe if you do that thing you thought you would never do, that crowd will let you hang out with them and you’ll feel better about yourself.
All these decisions, and no-one to decide them except for yourself.
Good golly I love growing up.