• Stephanie Hinds

The 'End' in 'Friend', then the New Beginnings

I used to listen to Good Charlotte all the time in my teens. I wanted to be a rockstar, but listening to them loudly through headphones was as close as I got. One of the most powerful things I took away from my time being an active listener of their music was a line in a song that went like this:

“Best friends can become strangers. But I don’t want that, no not for you, if you just stay with me, we can make it through.”

I find that one lyric echoing in my head a lot lately while parting with many friends and friendships that I thought, at one point or another, would be lasting. Quite frankly, this lyric helped me to arrive at the peace I needed to discover, and showed me that some things just fall apart naturally.

9 times out of 10, it is in our best interest to let nature take her course.

I kind of just brushed off the recent “re-circling” of friends in my life as just another phase. I figured the people that were leaving were on their way somewhere else, and the people who were coming in needed me just as much as I needed them.

But then I thought, where am I going?

The more I thought about the direction I was headed in, the more I could account for the loss of some friends, and the gain of others. I noticed that the surer of myself I became, the less I saw of people who either weren’t sure of themselves, or didn’t want me to be sure of myself. The more career-oriented I became, the less I saw of people who didn’t care to get ahead, and wouldn’t know what to do if they ever got there. The last thing I realized, was that the better of a friend as I began to be, the better, although the fewer, friends I had.

Over time, some of us get to a point of self-actualization. I’m not talking Maslow’s hierarchy here, I’m just talking about being, feeling, like you know what you’re capable of. When you get there, you start doing things that you never did before, because you didn’t know you could do. Maybe you change the way you talk because you realize the impact of your words. Maybe you change the way you think because you realize how much results thoughts can generate. Maybe, quite simply, you love yourself a little more because you realize that you’re worthy of love; especially your own. Whatever changes you make as a result of being more sure of yourself, will illustrate to you, clearer than night and day, who encourages and promotes your growth.

Conversely, it will make the ones who don’t stick out like a sore thumb.

When I decided to become a journalist, I made both a commitment and a sacrifice. I committed myself to journalism and the act of being a journalist. I committed to writing, my blog, to being an active citizen, to being a recipient and distributor of information to other citizens, and the list just goes on and on and on.

The sacrifice came from all the things, and people, I would lose in that process. I sacrificed the people who maybe wouldn’t have time to talk about the news with me. I sacrificed being friends with people who wouldn’t let me interview them in order to meet a deadline. I sacrificed shallow conversations for deep discussions and debates about what was going on in our world. And I sacrificed all the attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors of both myself and my company that would not actively contribute to me getting to where

I want, deserve, and intend to be.

Friends will read your blog. They will let you talk their ear off about something they really have no idea about. Friends will come to you for “the inside scoop”. Friends will grab extra copies of the magazine you write for and only read your article. Friends will let you drag them out to networking events to mingle and schmooze with people just so you leave there with a couple contacts, and expect nothing more than a cocktail in return.

True friends are the ones that would be disappointed if you didn’t make it. Anyone that wouldn’t didn’t care to see you get there in the first place.

The more I realized I had a few friends that were really willing to do all these things, the more willing I was to do things for them. I guess when you’re trying to make it somewhere, anywhere, you always remember those who helped you get to the next landmark. For me, that is any person that read one, just one blog post. It is anyone who sent me a text, a tweet, or an email to say, “Hey kid, you’re doing alright. Keep writing.”

But you also remember those who tried to point you in the other direction.

When people acquire wealth, fame, or success, they get accused of forgetting where they came from, and “changing”. But to people who have not the eyes to see it, growth is always viewed as change, and quite negatively too.

The lyric in the song says “If you just stay with me, we can make it through.”

That means they watch the whole race. In fact, they show up early and run a lap with you, just to get you going. They give you water when you become dehydrated. They come and jog beside you to keep you going. While your soul dwindles and almost dies within you, they say “You can do it”, and bring you back to life.

They don’t just show up at the finish line and expect to be part of your victory. They help you get there.

I look at the people that I have in my life and know why they’re there. I look at the people that aren’t in my life and know why they’re not.

Should we try and save friendships we care about? Yes.

Should we lose ourselves and our focus in the process of doing it? You can if you want to.

Or, you can accept the fact that some people don’t always make it to the finish line with us. Some people choose not to; others, simply, just can’t run the race.

Regardless, you still deserve to see, to touch, and to cross the finish line.

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