At one point in our lives, or maybe even more than once, we became friends with someone unexpected. Perhaps it was an acquaintance or a friend of a friend you suddenly got close to. It’s great when these friendships last, especially since it’s more difficult to make lifelong friends when you’re already an adult. But sometimes we end up with these temporary friendships instead which, when they end, make us reflect and think, “What in the world was that?”
This is a thought that hit me the other day as I remembered a friendship I parted from which only lasted between six months to a year long. I want to share my experience because I am curious if others have gone through something similar.
Did you leave it as is or reignite the friendship?
Parting from a temporary friendship
I unexpectedly became close with an acquaintance. I wouldn’t say it was through mutual friends because we really didn’t have any. We were in separate groups to be honest but somehow ended up talking and getting to know one another. It was nice to discover another person with whom I had common interests.
This person started to invite me to hang out with them and their friends. I was very hesitant at first, my social anxiety kicked in: “I’m not close with anyone here.” I was not even that close yet with the person who invited me, this person who would be considered as my mutual connection to everyone else. However, this person who I will start to refer to as my “friend” and/or “so-and-so,” was kind and kept trying to invite me as long as I was comfortable. I decided to be brave and join them.
Everyone was nice but I definitely still felt like an outcast. Inside jokes were shared but even during jokes that I could understand, my laugh was forced. It was nobody’s fault, reality just made itself clear, it was weird for me to be here. I appreciated my “friend” checking on me every once in a while to make sure I was still okay. But I lowkey hoped I wouldn’t be invited again. Even saying goodbye to everyone was awkward. Thoughts crowded my mind such as, “These people must be surprised why I’m friends with so-and-so.”
Temporary friendship in middle school
This situation reminded me of something that happened when I was in middle school. Similarly, I unexpectedly became friends with someone who was in a different social circle than I was. Except the big difference was that we were teenagers, and teenagers are more vocal about “weird” occurrences.
I was eating lunch with my unexpected friend, just the two of us. Three of her friends sat at the table behind us and suddenly asked out loud, “When did you guys become friends?” It wasn’t in a polite manner, there was a bit of attitude, they were shocked at the sight of us. I can’t remember what happened exactly after but the reactions of my friend’s friends are somehow still ingrained in my mind. We eventually drifted apart in high school for natural reasons like having different friends and no classes together.
Jumping back to my unexpected friendship as an adult
I realized this was indeed another unnatural social situation. Honestly, I was afraid people were already thinking the same things those kids in middle school thought. Though it’s not any of their business how I became friends with so-and-so, and it’s not a big deal, I didn’t like the possibility of speculation and rumours.
I convinced myself that my “friend’s” friends didn’t matter. I had shared a lot of personal thoughts with this “friend” and we knew enough about each other. I was looking forward to hanging out with them in the future. At least that’s how I felt for a little while.
The way we communicated then became inconsistent. It happened less often than how it first started. This I could understand as we both became busy. But what made me question it more was that sometimes we would talk and it would seem like we were friends, then other times it would be like we were back to strangers. This inconsistency resulted in more time for me to question everything that had happened in this friendship so far.
I can’t lie, I got paranoid if this person was just using me for someone they needed at the time. Did I overshare, anything too personal? Is there something they didn’t like about my personality and now they won’t talk to me the same way? These were questions I knew would remain unanswered because we weren’t at a level where I could confront them about these serious thoughts I was having. It was a 50/50 chance they would think I was overreacting.
As I saw coming, the friendship came to an end with no exact closure. This person and I stopped talking, but I accepted it because life goes on. Though I want to ignore my emotions, I cannot. Since I also cannot discuss my emotions about this temporary friendship with that person, I should at least try to acknowledge them with myself.
It was odd. What even was it? What even happened? Where did things “go wrong?”
Or maybe it’s not wrong, we were just meant to help each other for a little bit then part ways. But now I think about some of the words we exchanged, meaningful sentences that made me think we were going to remain friends for longer than the actual period of time our temporary friendship lasted.
Did we fail at becoming friends? Do you also wonder what happened between us?
There are many things I can’t be sure of, but one thing I can say that is true on behalf of both of us is that we wish each other the best.
Should you feel bad for having a temporary friendship?
As long as nobody did anything wrong, no hurtful actions or words were exchanged, try to overcome your worries. It is not easy to get past unresolved emotions, to accept an ending that just faded, and of course have questions with no chance of being answered. If this is something you have experienced as well, my main word of advice is to confront yourself even if you can’t confront the other person.
Comfort yourself by writing all your thoughts. Close it up and put it away, maybe even burn it afterwards. You’re lucky if you can confront the person and find closure for the sake of both parties. Obviously this blog doesn’t apply to you if you were able to revive the friendship, because then it’s ongoing, no longer temporary.
I wish more people would write about particular experiences such as these temporary friendships, so they would be normalized. Thank you for taking the time to read my parting story.