We all have friends. That’s a fact of life. Some of them we haven’t seen for a very long time (thanks covid-19), but we still maintain a tight connection with. Then there are friends whom we used to be so inseparable with but no longer vibe with. What do you do when you feel like you’ve outgrown your friends?
Growth is such a pivotal part of our own self journeys. Every year we all grow–heck, every single day we grow. There are things that we must’ve loved two years ago but completely can’t stand now. There are clothes we loved as children, but is basically impossible to wear now. Then there are people who we thought we can never live without, but no longer plays a part in our lives now.
Growth is very important, and with growth, comes the drifting apart between some friends (or even family, sometimes).
Don’t get me wrong, growth is not a bad thing. It never is. Because growing means that we get to discover who we truly are as individuals. We get to finally decide who we want to surround ourselves with, and we get to find out what keeps our lives rolling.
There are people in my life whom I considered to be some of my ‘greatest friends’. These are people who grew up me, and have known me for years. Sometimes I consider them to be the people who’d, undoubtedly, have my back…or would even bail me out when worst comes to worst. But lately it got me thinking, would I really trust them with that one phone call to bail me out or would they not have my back after all?
I feel like my friends from my hometown are still the same people I met when we were all younger. Obviously, we’ve all grown, but to what extent do we really measure our own self-growth?
Now my friends from my hometown have been there for me through the best and the worst: first heartbreaks, suicide attempts, university graduation, first jobs, and so on. These are people that I really did grow up with, and they’re the ones who should know me best. Because as much as I’ve grown now, I was still the same lanky girl who preferred old lady dresses over hiking boots. That’s still me…even though I’ve tweaked a bit from my personality.
You see, moving abroad has helped me realise what was wrong about the culture that I grew up in. When I was living in different countries, I’d do some weird habit that I grew with in the Philippines (not knowing that that’s weird in other cultures), and they’d be completely weirded out.
Like one time I was at a fancy hotel with my ex-boyfriend and a staff opened up the door for us. I just completely walked past him without saying a word. My ex, being the polite Canadian that he is, told the guy ‘thanks’ and told me I was rude. I never really thought that was a big deal. Obviously, now that I look back at it I’ve realised that I’d been such a rude person. Because in the Philippines we never really thought much about customer service employees. But I was wrong, and so I learned. Heck, did I learn because a few months later I’d be working as a hostess in restaurant in New York.
Also, I’m very sensitive. It really might not look that way, but I am. Damn, when I first moved to the United States, I used to cry every single fricken’ night. I would miss my family, my friends, and my life back home. But I knew that I wanted this new life, and that I had dreams bigger than myself. So I toughened up, and now, I’d like to think that living in the US has helped me become a stronger person. Now, I really don’t let things bother me at all. My family thinks I’m a stone cold bitch, but hey, I needed to be one when I moved oceans away.
When I move to different countries, I’d also need to adapt with whatever produce they’d have in their countries. In Morocco, there were an abundance of beans so I learned how to cook with different beans. In Turkey, they had a lot of Mediterranean inspired produce, so I learned how to cook with that. Oh, in Mexico, most produce were the same in the Philippines so I had a blast with cooking those. You just really have to adapt, and learn how to cook for yourself because nobody’s going to cook for you there. You really can’t rely on anybody else but yourself when you moved abroad.
I know that I’ve grown because I know myself. I thought that my friends back home would know me better, but lately I’ve realised that they really don’t know me at all.
One time I was hanging out in my friend’s house. She was cooking and I offered to help. I’ll never forget her response: she laughed at me and said, “Wow, you know how to cook?”
It seems super shallow but this was a girl that I considered to be one of my best friends. She doesn’t even know I cook. Then I remembered my housemates from Mexico, and how they’d always be up to try out whatever I’ve experimented in the kitchen.
On most times I get lonely abroad, all I’d crave is a familiar voice. So I’d try to call some friends from home. To which none of them would pick up, unfailingly. I mean, I get it, we’re older and we’re all really busy. But when you’re busy for two consecutive years and never pick up your phone, maybe it’s just a matter of prioritisng your personal affairs. It’s quite funny because my other travel friends and I talk regularly on a daily basis even if we’re a couple of time zones apart.
More often than not, people from my hometown would message me when I’m abroad asking me to come home so we could hangout. Then funny enough, when I’m home and when I’m actually down to hangout, they’re all MIA. Why’s that the case?
It’s quite intriguing to me how all these people that I’ve grown up with now seems so far away. Is it me? Is it because I’ve changed or I’ve developed a new set of friends? I don’t think so. Because the reality of life is, no matter how much we try to compensate for our friendships, if the other person wouldn’t try as hard as you, it’ll surely fail.
I also find it quite ridiculous how my travel friends who’ve known me for no more than a year, actually knows me better than people I grew up with. It’s pretty sad actually, when you come to think of it. Because these people that I grew up with were the first people whom I told my ultimate dreams and aspirations to. They were the ones who were there for me when I was panicking when visa applications were due. These people were also the ones who were there for me when I thought that I’d never get past my depressing teenage years. We’ve all been through so much together, and the thought that they can’t even bother picking up the phone is quite sad.
Sometimes we outgrow people, and sometimes our friends outgrow us. It’s a silly fact of life. But it’s a constant cycle, and if we all don’t try hard enough, most of our friendships will just crumble down.
You see, growth is inevitable, and it’s a part of life. So don’t feel bad for growing and for outgrowing people in your life. Don’t try to shrink yourself for other people. If you’re feeling that way–that you need to stunt your growth to maintain certain friendships, maybe it’s time to find new friends.
Always remember to never sacrifice your self-growth just because other people might feel smaller or more inferior than yourself. There are other people out there waiting for you to join them.
Growth is important, so don’t stop, and keep growing for yourself.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV