Have you ever been hurt by one of your friends because they let you down or maybe weren’t there for you in a time when you really needed a friend? In some cases, your friend may be totally at fault, but there are also times when our own expectations of friendship can actually hurt those friendships. Here are a couple of friendship myths that can help you navigate the waters of forming deep friendships without getting hurt by your own — often unrealistic — expectations.
Myth: A friend will never let you down.
Reality: This is not a realistic expectation. Friends, just like everyone else, are human and they will let you down. Being let down is part of life and we all learn from it. The closer you are to someone, the more deeply they can hurt you. The good news is, when you are that close to someone it is easier to talk to them about problems that arise. It is also easier to forgive each other. Do not expect your friends to be so perfect that they could never let you down. Would you want your friends to have this expectation of you?
Myth: True friendships last forever.
Reality: While some friendships do last forever, it is natural to lose touch with perfectly good friends. Life is a series of stages and the friends you have in one stage may be different from the friends you have in others. Your friends in high school will graduate, and you will very likely only keep up with a select few of them. In college, you will get new friends. Many of those will one day be replaced when you move into an apartment or enter the workforce. This is natural, and it does not mean that your old friends didn’t care about you or that they weren’t good friends. It just means that they, like you, grew up. Friends are everywhere, but you will not see that if you hang onto the past, regretting friendships that faded a long time ago. It is not your fault if you lost touch with a good friend and it is not your friend’s fault either. It is just a natural part of growing and learning.