The Phases of True Friendship

My best friend says I've changed.. I'll admit, I have evolved and evolved again since we first became friends as teenagers.  Remaining the same becomes totally impossible when you are constantly reflecting on who you are and finding new things that you want to change about yourself.

But there are stages in friendships, I'm talking real, life-long friendships. They are: The honeymoon, the growing together, the growing apart, and the reunion stage.

During stage 1 - the honeymoon stage, you want to be around your friend 24/7. You go everywhere together. I mean it gets to the point where you can't show up at a public event by yourself, without everyone asking you where your friend is. You know each other's entire schedule, from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed, and every single detail in between. You know every dirty secret and every embarrassing moment. Your entire world is just the two of you.

And so you slowing transition into phase 2, without even knowing it. You begin to grow together. You begin to achieve goals together during this stage. You're both proud of each other and feel like nothing and no one in the world can stop you. Everything is perfect.

..Until you start growing apart. This naturally occurs with things like distance, boyfriends, or even making new friends. It also occurs when something occurs in ones life that alters their entire outlook. This is the hardest phase to endure. The shift from being totally connected to being a bit off track is scary for both of you. All you want is your friend to be the same person that they were when you met them but that isn't possible. Once they've grown, theirs no turning back. Unfortunately, many don't make it past this stage. There are many possible reasons but for time purposes, I will just list two: 1. Lack of honest communication and 2. Pride.

Speaking solely for myself, the lack of honest communication is my biggest issue. I hate confrontation between me and my friends - its the most uncomfortable thing ever. So what do I do when things bother me? I hold everything in and pretend that everything is cool, hoping that my feelings will just magically fade away. Never works. It always ends with me having a big argument where I roll out a list of things from A-Z that have been bothering me. Only for my friend to feel attacked by my extensive list and defensive.

Pride is also an issue. When a woman knows she's right, she's right! I follow that philosophy when it comes to my feelings but at the same time, so do my friends. We all think we are right. Solves nothing. Leaving us respectfully agreeing to disagree --- which basically means, I don't think you were right but I am tired of trying to get you to see things my way. 

If you make it through this phase though, pat yourself on the back. This means you are ready to reunite. And if you both can reunite with a clean heart and no lingering hard feelings, chances are: you'll be back together, stronger than ever.

But remember, we're only human. And every human is always in  a different stage in life itself. You may be feeling like you are in the prime of your life, while your friend is just getting started. Both stages need to be respected. That, along with keeping the honest communication lines open, are the only ways to remain in the growing together phase.