Friendship. It’s an old and complicated thing, and I can’t say I’ve got it completely figured out yet. What I have figured out, though, is that the amount of years you’ve been friends with someone controversially most definitely matters. You’ll never hear me say that the friendships I have only recently developed are less valuable than the ones I’ve had since forever, but I do believe that there is a unique dynamic to a friendship that has lasted for years as opposed to more recent ones.
“A unique dynamic? What the fluff are you talking about?” Well, for starters, I feel like there’s a big difference in reliability. I’m aware that some of you might be annoyed by this – “I’m a reliable friend to everyone!” – but frankly, you’re more likely to be a reliable friend to someone whom you have known for years than to someone who has only been your friend for a few months. I’m no psychologist, so my knowledge about this is of course limited, but I’m certain that as good of a person you may be, you won’t feel as bothered to help out someone who’s been your friend for only four months as opposed to someone who’s been your friend for six years.
Besides that, I feel like there’s also a difference regarding the social expectations within the friendship. When talking to a fairly recent friend, I always catch myself thinking about what I should say and should do a lot more often than I do with friends whom I have known for years. To be brutally honest, I try a lot harder to make them like me, whereas with older friends I don’t really bother anymore, because I know they like me anyway. It’s not so that I feel as if they would like me any less if I’d behave differently from what is expected – it’s just that I am a lot more aware of what is okay when I am around them.
Lastly, how long you’ve known someone also comes a long with a sense of predictability. Just like you know what older friends expect of you as I discussed in the paragraph above, you also know what you can expect of them. You know they won’t suddenly drop you just because you fought, you know they will be around when you need them even if you don’t talk to them as often anymore, you know they would never spare your feelings and just be honest with you, and you know that they are always ten fluffing minutes late. Both good and bad qualities – you know it’s something you can rely on, and that’s not something you can easily have with new friends.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of getting to know new people. Yet I can’t help but feel like there is something off about a friendship that doesn’t grow. It is so easy to believe that someone you just met and get along with really well will turn out to be a friend forever (I mean, my old friends are probably rolling their eyes right now, because I’m guilty of this myself). But I sincerely believe that, in the end, nothing compares to a friendship you have shared for years.
- L. Parole