When I was in my mid twenties I noticed my circle of friends drifting apart. Some of us were getting married and having families. Some of us decided to return to school, and others decided to go out and check what the world had to offer. I found myself feeling down about it and it showed pretty obviously. That was when I got some of the best advice ever from a man who was proud of his misanthropy.
Bill Brule, a slightly older co-worker pointed out to me that in our lives our circle of friends will change every ten years or so, and that it is best just to let go and move on. You will meet new people. Some of the old will drift back into your life. Some people are in and out like a flash. Some are good for you, some bad and some a little of both. Friends are neither perfect or even forever. Certainly our relationships with them are going to change.
I find myself thinking of Bill today. This past summer has been a chaotic one. I have met new people who quickly left my life. I have made new friends that I think I will know and appreciate for years to come and I have had someone I thought could have been one of those tell me to kiss off.
That latter one stung all last night. Oddly enough though, I never cried over it. If you know me in person you will know that this is something of a major miracle, though really, maybe I am finally evolving that way. Once upon a time I wanted this person to be more than friends. I am awkward, weird and have no skills in managing my romantic feelings. I know I come on strong. I thought this person and I had gotten past that and were on the road to being friends, since we are passionate about so many of the same things. Apparently I was wrong.
It hurt, for all of an hour or so. I beat myself up, and not entirely for no good reason, but then I remembered Mr. Brule. She drifted in and out of my life. She was never more than an acquaintance really, despite what I may have wanted. I do believe she was overly harsh, but that is her prerogative. Things change, not always for the better, not always for the worst, they just do. If nothing else the whole episode was instructional, though I am not one hundred percent certain what lesson I learned. I have some good ideas though.
So thank you Bill Brule, for that advice fifteen years ago. I have found it useful many times over the years, and have even passed it on more than once. Wisdom on friendship, from a self-described anti-social bastard.