There are times when you meet someone and you just naturally vibe with that person, to the point that every time you're in that person's company you're comfortable. That's how it was with a former friend of mine who I'll call “Kay". Kay is a few years younger than me, but we both share a lot of the same experiences and interests, and everything just meshed. We met at work and immediately hit it off. We took our breaks together, arranged to have our desks near each other, ate lunch together and even hung out after work—we were tight.
As time went on, I ended up leaving the company and she stayed on. We attempted to meet up outside of work a few times; however, it just wasn't the same. I couldn't for the life of me understand why we drifted apart, but eventually I was able to understand she was my friend for that particular season and within that particular climate. The season was my time at the company—she became a person that I could vent to about issues at work and vice versa, and we understood each other within that particular climate.
Eventually, I had to come to terms with the fact that outside of the work climate, we were totally different people with totally different interests other than the ones we shared while on the job. I had to accept the fact that even though to this day we remain acquainted via social media and will hug and speak when we see each other, we are no longer friends. I don't know what's happening with her on a day to day basis and that's okay because our friendship served a particular purpose for a limited timed, and those memories will always be special.
Like everyone, I've now come to accept it as a part of life. Losing a friend is indeed not much different than breaking up with someone romantically. Anytime you bond with someone and that bond is broken, you're going to hurt. What these experiences have taught me is that some people are only put in your life for a season, and eventually that season will come to an end. It's as simple as that. Here are a few of my takeaways from friendships that have come and gone.
Understand the Climate of the Friendship
As human beings, we bond with people and form friendships in all sorts of places. Whether it's through work, school, the gym or any number of other social groups, unless you're entirely anti-social most people form friendships in the aforementioned atmospheres or “climates". What most people don't foresee; however, is the effect “climate change" can have on these relationships. This was my experience with Kay. Once I left the atmosphere of our relationship (work) the climate of our friendship changed, and unfortunately it didn't change for the better.
People Lose Their Compatibility
Throughout the changes I've been through with friends who have come and gone, I've come to realize that sometimes it's not the climate—it's the connection between the people that diminishes. This is exactly what happened between myself and a former friend of mine. We met when we were in middle school and bonded immediately. When high school came along we were still very tight, but somewhere between meeting new people and starting to date, the connection that once made us inseparable began to diminish.
She began to make friends with people whom I wouldn't normally associate with and began to participating in things that I wasn't cool with it—this put a wedge between us. Eventually, we just stopped talking all together. Years later, we attempted to reconnect as adults, but unfortunately the friendship couldn't be revived. It just wasn't the same between us. Like Kay, we remain connected via social media and we're cordial when we see each other, but other than her social media posts I really don't know who she is anymore. What I learned from that experience, however, is that compatibility is the fuel to any relationship. You can like someone but no longer be compatible. Though it can be a hard pill to swallow, it's just the way life goes. Our season was over.
People Grow Differently and I Respect That
This is something I struggle with to this day. While I've had people in my life who I've cared about, but was able to let them go their separate ways, I have one friend who I can't let go of. This person is more like a sister to me than just a friend. She is someone who I could never see myself simply moving on from. This is very tricky for me, because there is nothing wrong with this friend, she is a beautiful person inside and out—we are simply on different levels in life. This makes it difficult for us to spend time together. She is going through some very difficult things, and has been going through these situations for a while now. She has sought my advice, and I've offered it and even offered to help her out of her situation, but for some reason she never removes herself from her situation. This is a person I've been friends with as far as back as I can remember, and I can't ever see myself totally abandoning her, but I have kept my distance from her for several reasons.
One reason I remain distant is that fact that her situation is “toxic," and listening to her woes began to affect my life negatively. I was constantly worrying about her and trying to come up with ways to help her, but in all honesty she either didn't want my help or she wasn't ready for the changes that came with it. It hurts to keep my distance because I miss her, but also because I can see she is so much greater than her circumstances. As much as I try to build her up she still remains blind to her potential.
Not to sound cliché, but I had to learn to love her from a distance. When she's ready to rise up from everything that keeps her from flourishing I'll be right here for her, but for now I can't expose myself to her negative aura. I know this may seem to contradict everything I wrote previously, however, it is in my opinion that some bonds should never be broken, even if they are weakened at times. So while our bond is weakened currently, it isn't broken, and I have faith that our time apart is only temporary.
As I've grown older, I've learned to keep my circle small but strong.
I have a few good friends that I can count on and they can count on me as well. I've found that reciprocity is an essential element for friendships to thrive. Within my current friendships, we build each other up to be the best we can be. My new circle of friends are mainly composed of people who I believe aren't just here for a season, but are people I am confident I can weather any storm with, and I'm sure they feel the same. While I cherish all the connections I've made throughout my life, because I've generally been able to take away something valuable, I'm fine with the fact that some people just aren't my friends anymore, and I wish them the best.
What about you? What life lessons have you learned from friends who have come and gone?
- Why Talking About Your Friends Behind Their Back Is Normal ... ›
- Why I'm OK When Certain Friendships In My Life End ›
- 10 Things To Expect From Your Friendships - xoNecole: Women's ... ›
- It Is Okay To Lose Friends Over The Years, Doesn't Mean You're A Bad ›
- Friendships: Being okay with losing friends | by Odinakachukwu ... ›
- Losing Friends With Grace | Psychology Today ›
- Why It's OK To Lose Friends ›
- What Does the Bible Say About Losing Friends? ›
- Five Truths to Ease the Changing Season of Friendships - (in)courage ›
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
Featured image by Stephen Zeigler/Getty Images