by Kiersten Hallie Krum
When I was in graduate school in my late twenties, I met a young woman who became a close friend. We spoke or emailed every day. We went out to bars together to dance, walking barefoot through Hoboken (okay, that was just me and I was, not surprisingly, drunk off my ass) to get to my car in its parking space six blocks from the bar (she drove; I’m not an idiot). I took over her apartment (and her roommate) when she moved in with her boyfriend. We had classes together. She was a comforting ear and supportive friend through some significant family drama. Her boyfriend wanted to move home to Florida. She went with him.
I never heard from her again.
I looked for her. I called her, left animated messages that conveyed my concern and disappointment that we hadn’t had a chance to go out one last time before she moved. Email and the Internet were still relatively new–there was no Facebook. No social media. My friend knew I didn’t like the idea of her leaving her job to go with this man to a place where she knew no one and did not have a job waiting for her, but those were my fears, not hers, and once expressed, I’d supported her in the transition. My last voice mail got bounced back to me, presumably because she changed numbers and providers, and there was little left to do after that.
I’d learned the lesson of fickle friendships as a child in grade school when girls would be attached to my hip, thick as thieves, BFFs forever one day and, literally the next, in a total about-face, colluded in packs with other girls to bully a bewildered and mortified me saying such horrible things about young me as to astonish you. Or perhaps not. As such, the intransigence of “friendship” was indelibly tattooed on me from very early on in life.
Sadly, this was neither the first nor the last time a friend would disappear from my life. Despite those unkind childhood experiences, I’ve always struggled with understanding how one day a person could be your sincere bosom friend and the next either your sworn enemy or, in this case, just gone. Worse, to have people to whom you were intimately linked, but when those life paths you were on together turned in different directions, the relationship failed to whether it. Were they insincere in their friendship. Did it hold no value for them?
But then, someone shared with me this concept of “friends for now.” That there are people put in your life for that cycle; the perfect companions for the period of life that needs them. It took a lot for me to come to terms with that idea. Growing up, I didn’t have so many friends that I could hold them only for those periods of life that they were there. Those painful childhood lessons on friendship (decades before the idea of “frenemies” or “mean girls” was so commonplace) had been learned too well and what friends I did have, I wanted to hold on to tightly for fear that I’d never again have any others.
But by the time my friend moved to Florida, life and experience had taught me otherwise. I cherished my friends, but understood the complexities of relationships and peer groups as my younger self could never have known. Likewise, I came to terms with the idea of “friends for now”. It’s not something that occurs while forming friendships or finding those like-minded people to whom you relate. You don’t know what friendships are made to last and which ones are there for that moment in your lives when you connect. Social media, especially Facebook, has revolutionized how we connect and reconnect in both positive and negative ways. It’s easier now to find common ground and create a false sense of friendship with people you may never meet in person in your life. Which does nothing to make those relationships disingenuous.
But much like college friends ease away to different states and jobs as they marry and have children and build families, much as my mid-twenties group of interconnected friends eventually married one another and broke off into phases of life with which I shared little in common, much as the friends I know from church and those from publishing connections or work connections or wherever link and disconnect in the most unexpected ways, there will be friends for now who are part of an experience and then wane as that experience ends and then there are friends with whom time and distance makes no barrier that can’t be overcome with the simplest of connections. And sometimes the friends you have for now are exactly the ones you needed.
In Lady Smut blogger Isabelle Drake’s, new release Best Friends Never, two former best friends share a nasty, life-ruining secret that may be the key to student’s disappearance.
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