They say friendships are for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. As you age you realize that the majority of your relationships are only friends for a season.
I see it all the time on Facebook. A person (usually in their early 30’s or younger) meet someone and immediately declares that they are BFFs, almost sisters, and will be friends forever.
What is a Friend for a Season
In our lifetime, we experience many seasons.
Time marks some seasons. Friendship as a toddler is different than friendship as a young child, which is different than friendship as a teenager or an adult.
Other seasons are marked by defined periods of our life – high school, college, as a young single, a newly married couple, early parenthood, established parenthood, empty nest, retirement, etc.
Or a season may be marked by an event or life-changing experience such as attending an invite-only event, a marriage, divorce or being present during a natural disaster or tragic event.
Group membership in a sorority, church, or sports activity is a season.
A specific location like a school, job or neighborhood may be a season.
Whatever the type, we are friends when we have that season in common.
But when that season ends, often the friendship does too.
When the Season Ends
Realizing that a friendship season is over and letting go is one of the hardest things to do.
A friendship season doesn’t always end at the same time for both people.
You may be ready to move on to the next season, but your friend is still firmly planted in the current season.
One of my best friends in high school was a gal named Elsa. (You haven’t gone crazy high school peeps. I changed the name.)
We remained friends through high school, college in separate towns, my move out-of-state, my move back home, my marriage, and her marriage.
After 15-years of friendship through several seasons, everything was on track to become friends for a lifetime.
But something happened when I got pregnant with my son.
At the time, Elsa and I weren’t talking as much, but nothing was wrong between us. It was just the usual ebb and flow of friendship.
But when I told her I was pregnant (by voicemail because I hadn’t been able to get in touch with her), she never responded.
I reached out again six months later when I went into the hospital for bedrest and the inevitable birth of an early preemie.
Still, no response.
In my most significant time of need, my best friend wasn’t there for me.
I spent years wondering what went wrong.
It took me a long time to get over the hurt of realizing Elsa was a friend for a season and not a friend for a lifetime.
And that’s the thing. You don’t know if a friend for a season will turn into a friend for a lifetime.
Try not to be hurt and upset when a friendship ends earlier than expected.
Instead be thankful for what that friend brought you during that season of our life.
Read all 50 pieces of advice I shared in honor of my 50th birthday.