Is it possible to control all of the relationships in our lives?

Mary Rugolo

When I was younger, it always scared me how the adults in my life could lose touch with old friends. We would look through year books and I would read promises of how they would be friends forever and be confused by how someone you were so close with and was a vital part of your life could suddenly be gone. Was it that those people suddenly were no longer important? Were there fights? What could happen to make that person stop being a friend and turn into a stranger? When I asked these questions, the overwhelming response was “life happened.”

The summer before college we were all terrified about what the upcoming year at school would bring in regards to friendships and relationships. What if we are inevitably doomed to say “life happened” in regards to the people we can’t imagine our lives without today?

I am forced to ask, do we have any control over the fate of our relationships as we grow up?

Since coming to school, I have come to believe that we can be in complete control of our relationships with our friends. I am not saying that fights don’t happen and that you won’t lose friends as you grow up, but most times friendships can be within your control. With cell phones, Instagram and Facebook it is so easy to keep in touch. You can choose whom to call or text. You are in charge of keeping friends in your life. If you are willing to put in the effort and stay a part of your friends’ lives, then it is easy to stay friends.

However, staying a part of your friends’ lives while they are off making new friends can be difficult. As you struggle to remember the names of their new friends, crushes and teachers, it can feel as though they are slipping through your fingers and you are being replaced by the new friends they are undoubtedly making at school.

When this feeling arises, remind yourself

that they probably feel the exact same way you do. You are making new friends too and having new experiences that they struggle to keep up with. You are both in the same boat. Once that fact is acknowledged it becomes easier to fix the jealousy and bitterness that tends to grow.

Keeping the balance between old friends and new can be difficult, however it is well worth it.

Accept that you will never fully understand all parts of your friends’ life and that is okay. You are able to enjoy the parts that you do share. Don’t get frustrated when they don’t remember every detail of your new life. Do you really remember all the details of his or hers? Continue to remind them of your favorite place to hang out or the names of your new friends. Ask for reminders of who the people are in their stories. Through putting in an effort to hear about your old friends’ new lives you can better stay friends with them as they evolve.

This weekend I was able to experience this first hand when my friends that I’ve had since I was four years old came to visit the friends I made four months ago.

It’s nervewracking having your old friends meet the new ones. What if they don’t get along? What does that mean? You obviously like your new friends but what if your old friends know you better than yourself and dislike the newer friends?

All of these doubts can make a stressful situation. However, what I found was that both your new and old friends are much more similar than you originally thought.

After all, you chose to befriend all of them. This means that they must have shared some similar characteristics. Plus, they chose to befriend you meaning that they must trust and like your, judgement. This logic means that more times than not, your new friends will at least get along with the old friends, and vice versa.

When your sets of friends meet remember to keep everyone involved. There is nothing worse than being on the outside of an inside joke, so

include them. Explain what happened that one time at Fiji or why when you say pineapple all your college friends burst into giggles. Keep everyone involved.

It’s going to feel odd at times melding two parts of your life, but through overcoming that feeling is how I believe you beat the “life happened” statement. By putting in an effort to keep connected with old friends and make them a part of your life, even as you change and evolve, you are showing your friends that you care enough about them to make them permanent.

That way when you look back through that high school and college yearbooks you can turn to your friend and say, “remember when you wrote that?”