There are friends for a reason, a season, and a lifetime. When we embark on a friendship, we have high hopes that those beginning seeds will blossom into forever. But the time and nurturing required of that kind of friendship is reserved for a few, special people who mesh into our souls and lives seamlessly year after year.
There are reasons friendships are short-lived, and those are often obvious. Maybe it was to fulfill a need for you—whether physically or emotionally. These relationships are short, usually sweet, and the ending comes as swiftly as it began.
Friendships for a season are trickier. Sometimes they are out of convenience. Maybe you worked at the same place and regular lunch dates deepened your connection. Maybe you had kids the same age and they got along, and your play dates became part of your schedule. Maybe a chapter like college or a committee threw you into social events where you naturally gravitated toward one another. Maybe the end of that relationship ended when the convenience did. Maybe one of you moved away or changed groups and there wasn’t something keeping you on the same path.
However, some friendships for a season bring about tough lessons when they end.
Sometimes it’s more than convenience forcing you together. Sometimes we choose friends and love them like family, but they don’t stay that way. Those are the messy friendships full of wonderful memories but also heartbreak. It’s hard to find comfort when we hoped for lifers and got seasonals.
Sometimes these friendships die abruptly in a heated and unforgivable act, or maybe they die a slow death with little grievances that build up over time, becoming too heavy for us to continue bearing. Whatever the reason, sometimes we choose to walk away or they choose to walk away from us, leaving loss and grief in their wake.
But what I have found, even in the heartbreak or the anger or the deep loss of these seasonal friendships, is to find gratitude in the joyful moments and in the lessons of mistakes you don’t want to repeat.
So thank you, seasonal friend.
Thank you for your place in that chapter that sparked so much joy and held so many memories. The hours we laughed, the secrets we confided, and the growing pains together have shaped me just as they have shaped you. So thank you for playing a part in my story that included joy.
And yes, thank you seasonal friend for the heartbreak. Even betrayal. Because you taught me a lot about myself. Did I act with grace or rashness? Did I give that friendship all I had or was I the one who took and took and rarely gave? Did I communicate my needs and my boundaries or did I ignore red flags and make excuses over and over again?
And even if my heart has trouble at first, I practice wishing them well. Seasonal friend, I hope you are learning as you go just as I am and making better choices as I hope to make. I wish your life to be supported and joyful even if our part in each other’s life is over. I wish you well. I wish you friendships that nourish your soul. I wish you lifetime friendships.
Even in the loss of a seasonal friendship we thought was forever, we can reflect on our own choices and behavior and learn how to navigate friendship better the next time. Be the best friend you hope to have.