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The Thing About New Friends…

“Emotionally, though, it’s harder to accept the fact that every friend we make might not be a friend forever–especially when only one person wants the relationship to end.”

– Aminatou Sow & Ann Friedman, authors of Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close

Lately, I’ve been thinking about all the people I’ve let in and out of my life this past year or so.

I’ve been thinking about all the tears I’ve shed crying on people I had one intimate conversation with. I’ve been thinking about all the potential weddings I promised to be in. I’ve been thinking about all the breakfast and dinner and lunch plans I promised to make with people to catch up.

For a large portion of my summer, especially as I’ve transferred environments and tried to transfer mindsets, I found myself overthinking and feeling guilty. I feel like I’ve failed at maintaining relationships, keeping promises, and putting forth effort.

I was watching a YouTube video by Mai Pham. She talked about decorating her previous LA apartment with the anticipation of making lots of new friends and having lots of people over.

I definitely did the same thing. I thought that I would make a ton of new friends now that I live alone, but I’ve realized how fleeting most new friendships are, how they don’t make it to the stage of coming to my apartment.

I can count on one hand the number of new friends I’ve let into my apartment, and I can count on the same hand how many of them are in my life/I want in my life.

Here’s the thing about new friends: You get caught up in the newness, the sameness of an emotion or situation you share, which results in big plans to maintain something that barely has a foundation.

Me being me, I am all about finding people who are ride-or-die and ready to join my small tribe of lovelies who get to see all sides of Jamilah–the hot mess express.

It’s easy to think you’ve found someone to be in your tribe, but it’s also easy to forget about them, unless you established a genuine, almost intimate connection. Those far gone, deeply intimate new friendships are a bit harder to shake. The quick connections are like cigarettes for your brain; your brain gets addicted to the joy, the positive new feelings you experienced, and won’t let you forget the memories that will instantly invade your entire being.

Sometimes you think you’re a lot closer to someone than you actually are simply because you want to be closer, want to be fully accepted and are still searching for that acceptance, that validation they’re not going anywhere.

There’s a lot of promises made in new friendships, and maybe fate knew those promises were meant to be broken but was allowing us to enjoy the moment.

Depending on the connection, new friends can help you come to terms with the disheartening saying “people come, and people go.”

Soon, you simply become two people who follow each other on social media. One might hear or see something that reminds them of the other person, and soon, the High School Reunion text is sent. I call any random text from someone I haven’t talked to in a long time and/or don’t know some standard details about their lives the High School Reunion text.

Example: “Hey, how are you? It’s been years!”

However, there are some new friendships that turn into beautiful, intimate, life-changing connections or relationships with people you know you can call on whenever, wherever. I would not have the best friends I have without starting as new friends.

I am learning to forgive myself for new friendships not lasting and not being good at virtual communication. Like with everything else in my life currently, I am slowly accepting and believing that it’s not my fault; the fleeting moments with people were meant to be lessons, not meant to last forever.

To the many people I’ve met over the years,
Once upon a time, we were friends, and we had nothing but good intentions to maintain the friendship we once had. However, life happens, and sometimes, we forget the promises we made. We were in each other’s lives for a reason, and whatever that reason was, I am beyond grateful for the time, conversations, laughs, and memories we shared.

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