Six months into starting my “first full-time job” my colleagues and I were having a debate about friendship. One of my colleagues promptly looked at me and said “But we are friends!” to which I quickly, almost menacingly, responded by stating that “We are not friends. We are close working colleagues” – I do not even know how this term popped into my mind. The look of bewilderment was overcome with a look of confusion. I had to then explain to my “close working colleague” the steps required in order to move from “colleague” to “friend.”
In my mind everyone fit into a specific box. I could not be friends with someone if I had only known them for six months. They would be considered acquaintances until this time had passed. I could not date anyone unless I had known them for, oh I don’t know, maybe a year. I could not consider anyone family unless there was that thing called DNA that we had in common.
Recently however (and by recent I mean the past couple of years – no, I am not THAT old) people have stopped fitting into my boxes. Imagine the frustration!!! People moved from colleagues to friends to family or from family to friends to strangers. I keep yelling out in dismay – “Can they not just stay in their box! What is wrong with these people!”
Then it dawned on me.
People are not meant for boxes.
Sometimes people will come into your life and be your pillar of strength for those few months when you need to rest in order to regain your strength back. Or people will enter your life to teach you some lesson that you clearly do not want to learn. Or sometimes people enter your life because they need you. Imagine that! They need you.
Sometimes the hardest lesson to learn is to accept that not everyone is meant to be a “lifetime.” That friend that you had so much in common with when you worked on the same project for three months was there for that season. That family member who guided you through one of the worst years you had – a reason.
I have come to realise that there is no one thing a person can do to move between the categories of friendship; family; colleague; partner. Yes, all forms of relationships require effort but that’s a separate topic. What I am talking about is that moment when you realise you have a friend for life or that moment when you realise you just lost a long-time friend. That feeling. That feeling when you realise that you no longer consider someone a friend and guess what, it’s okay. Or that feeling when you realise you consider someone more family than friends and guess what, that’s okay too.
That feeling is the reason why you may become more connected to someone you have only known for a month and why you may lose someone you have known all your life. That feeling also made me realise that moment when my “close working colleague” had become a friend for a lifetime. Not because we finally saw each other after working hours or because we still kept in contact after moving to separate cities. It was that feeling knowing that this person would still be in my life even when our roles changed or when we moved to separate companies. A season. A reason. A lifetime.