Wedding Season…

…has come to a close. We had a good run this year, Wedding. There were only two of you, and I didn’t go completely broke trying to prove to all parties involved that I really do love all of you, I just can’t afford to show you how much I love all of you through your registries. Everyone received “His & Her” or “His & His” or “Her & Her” towels. Kidding. But I wouldn’t have hesitated to distribute those if I had hand stitched those towels myself. Everyone should feel lucky that I don’t know how to sew.

This last wedding was an eye opener. It was the wedding of my ex boyfriend’s ex best friend.

Yup. Try saying that ten times fast. My ex, his best friend, and I all lived in a house together for about a year. After Ex and I broke up several of his friends came forward and told me that they had been waiting for that day for a long time, and re-affirmed my suspicions that Ex was kind of a douche. I stayed friends with that group, they cut him out, and that’s how I found myself at this wedding. It isn’t as awkward as it sounds. We’re all good friends, everyone is ecstatic that I’m dating a great guy, and everyone has been welcoming and accepting.

Weddings are a funny thing; without anyone realizing what’s happening at the time they end up showing you who matters and who isn’t relevant anymore. There were people at this wedding who, if you had told me two years ago, I wouldn’t have thought would be there. There were people missing who I would have sworn up and down would be at this wedding. There were faces that are so familiar to me now I can’t imagine my life without them, who would have been strangers to me two years ago. The Wedding Weeding out process is obvious to some and not-so-obvious to others, and it got me thinking: I am at a strange stage in my life where I’m starting to cut out people that are no longer “relevant” in my life. I know that sounds harsh, but let me explain.

We all evolve and grow and expand. As we go through this process there will be people who aren’t evolving, growing, or expanding at the same rate, in the same direction, or at the same time as you. Priorities in life start to really take shape. Matters that were once a priority in my life are no longer, and vice versa. As this happens, it starts to show itself through friend groups. At least that’s what I’ve found out. I no longer have patience for the friend that only talks to me when they’re single and then disappears when they’ve found “The One” for the tenth time. I no longer have patience for the friend who berates me for not getting trashed when I go out on a Friday night. There is NOTHING WRONG, I repeat, NOTHING WRONG with wanting to grab a drink or two on a Friday night and wanting to be home by midnight so that I can get up early on Saturday and do my laundry. So what if I don’t have an actual obligation to do something? So what if I don’t  have kids and have “no excuse” for not wanting to be so hungover that I can’t function for the next two days. Yes, sometimes those nights are fun, but having them once or twice a month instead of every weekend sounds more appealing to me. (I can hear my twenty one year old self laughing hysterically in the back of my mind).

I very recently went through a (what I thought was sad and traumatizing) time in my life where I was stressed because I felt obligated to listen to a longtime friend talk to me about why it was terrible being single, how she had found a great guy, how said guy turned out to be a loser, how she didn’t need a guy, how it sucks being single, and so on and so on. I was trying to juggle my very demanding work schedule, looking for a new job, and getting irritated that whenever she called or texted it was to talk about some guy (or lack thereof). At the same time, I had a different friend going through some very personal life issues, and was trying to help her through them when, admittedly, she didn’t even ask for my help. I reached a boiling point and exploded at Relationship Friend and got very offended that Life Issue friend kept turning down my advice and attempts to hang out. And then, one day, I realized: Relationship Friend was causing me more stress in my life than I could take right now. I am too old to be putting up with someone if I can’t handle it. Not in the self-absorbed sense, more in the “this friendship, at this time is not benefiting me emotionally and personally”. So I stopped my friendship with Relationship Friend. Life Issue friend wasn’t reciprocating my friendship right now, and I needed to learn to be OK with that decision. So I stopped initiating and reaching out with Life Issue friend. And what happened? My life was so much less stressful. It was hurtful and lonely for a little bit, but I learned to seek out friendships rather than “tolerate” them. I do hear how harsh that sounds, but I’m being honest. The friendships I have made since that time period are more meaningful because these are friendships that I enjoy and that I grow with. Life Issues friend eventually came around and we are back in each others lives. She needed space and I needed to learn to be OK with it.

The entire process was eye opening and emotionally draining. Like cleaning out my closet for the first time since college. There were relationships I was holding on to even though we both knew there was nothing left, which is worse because it turned once meaningful relationships into superficial ones. It showed me things about myself that I needed to learn and helped me realize certain life priorities that I didn’t know I had made.

I’m still trying to figure this all out, making friendships and connections is so different now than it was in college, but at least I feel like I’m making progress. That’s all that matters right?