Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Teenagers and Friendship

Lately, I have been observing my teenage daughters maneuvering up and down the social ladder at school.  They have built strong friendships, as well as a few short lived relationships.  I have watched them get stabbed in the back too many times to count.  I have seen them cast aside when boys come in the picture.  One daughter became involved with a few girls that were questionable in my eyes and luckily when she saw them for who they were, she walked away and didn't look back.

I have been reflecting on my time in high school and the lessons I have learned.  It doesn't matter what table you sit at in the cafeteria,as long as your friends are with you, but what happens if you make new friends?  I was a lunch table switcher and still I feel uneasy about my decision.  I remember running back and forth between two tables, until finally one day I stayed at the new table.  Just because I became really close with a new group of friends didn't mean I didn't still love the old ones.  Luckily, my friends understood.  Recently, I encouraged my daughter to switch lunch tables because, unlike me, she was not happy.  Since ridding herself of a few toxic friendships and removing herself from the lunch table to sit with some true friends she is happier.

Sometimes, I feel like I might have wasted my time on certain friendships and didn't nurture the right ones.  There are some girls from high school I wish I had gotten to know better.  There is a bit of playful teasing I took too personally and held against people.  I needed to lighten up a little and learn how to take a joke.  There are times I wish I could go back and talk to fifteen year old me and teach her all that I have learned.

I thought that some of the friends that I made in high school were going to be my life-long friends, but for the most part the only reason I know what is going on in their lives is because of Facebook.

Senior year was a crazy, emotional, mixed up time for me.  I was working at maintaining a long distance relationship, and was in a bit over my head.  Plus, I had to deal with surgery, college level courses, picking a college, petty teenage jealousy and uncertainty.  I said more than I should have to some people and sabotaged a few good friendships.  I had a friend "break up" with me on the last day of school due to the fact that we would be attending schools in different states.  She wanted to cut me off before she was going to be hurt if our friendship didn't withstand the distance.  

My wise friend, M, made us (the girls at the new lunch table) a bet near the end of senior year.  She bet us that we wouldn't even talk to each other in 10 years.  I wouldn't even hear of it.  These were the girls I spent all my waking hours with, and if we weren't together we were on the phone planning the next time we were going to see each other.  I laughed as I bet her, but realistically, I knew she was going to be right.  

I see the strong bonds that still exist among childhood friends.  There are groups of friends from my youth who still celebrate special occasions and holidays together. Somewhere along the road from high school to adult life, they became family.   I am lucky to have maintained close friendships with a few women, some who I have known since I was four years old.

I wonder if any of the girls and boys who walk through my front door, stay until all hours of the night, and share meals with us will be the friends that last a lifetime.  I hope my children make good decisions on judging character and knowing who their real friends are.  Instead of being able to talk to fifteen year old me, I get the opportunity to teach eight children everything I have learned.

In the end M was right.  I owe her ten dollars, and if I knew where she lived I would send it to her.

In case you are wondering, the girls I am still close to are from that first lunch table. 

1 comment:

  1. Like you, I have the most amazing friends from High School - and yes they were my original ones. The ones that were there through and through...and they still are. I have made great friends since then, but my original crew are some of the girls that I know will be there with me til the end.

    I too hope that my daughter finds friends like this. College may be the place...