How I Met Your Mother hasn’t been as entertaining in recent episodes. They are wrapping up the series and while I will miss it, I think it comes at a good time for the show. But where they missed it lately on humor, they nailed it on life lessons. My dear friend Simone pointed out 10 Things she learned about Love from HIMYM in a recent post. In the 2nd to last episode, the narrator Ted said something that really struck a chord with me:
“And that’s how it goes. The friends, neighbors, drinking buddies, and partners in crime you love so much when you are young… as the years go by you just lose touch. You will be shocked to learn how easy it is to part ways with someone forever and that’s why when you find someone you want to keep around, you do something about it.” – Ted Mosby, How I Met Your Mother
And I paused the TV (well my laptop, actually). I sat there, alone, just processing that.
Especially as I’ve gotten older, I have learned that not everyone is meant to stay in our lives. Everyone we encounter, teaches us a some kind of lesson, whether it be about ourself, to help us through a particular situation, to show us who we do or don’t want to be, or just about life in general. Some people are just temporary friends, there to help us grow in some way, and that’s okay.
But then there are those special friends that you want to be apart of your life for the long haul. Those people who make you happy, who make you laugh, who help you when you’re in need. People who genuinely care. They are the ones worth keeping in your life.
But keeping them around isn’t always that easy. Some just slip and fade away because life got in the way. It it really is shockingly easy to part ways with people forever. There are those we meant to have stick around but just didn’t put in enough effort to make it happen.
We’re not in school anymore and we’re not surrounded by the same people everyday. As kids, friendships were about conveniency. They were right there, everyday. You didn’t need a cell phone because you’d see the darn kid the next day in Homeroom. Now, you have to work on your friendships; you have to make an effort for those you want to keep in your life.
Part of growing up is realizing that all relationships worth keeping, especially friendships, take work and effort. Your family will love you unconditionally, but friendships are easily taken for granted and put on the back-burner. At least now with the internet, it is easier to stay in touch but it still takes a conscious effort. Friendship is a two-way street and if/when you want someone to remain there, you have to do something about it. It doesn’t have to be daily or even weekly, hell, there are those friendships that can go several months without talking but can pick up exactly where they left off, but it is important that the effort is made by both parties.
We often assume those we care about will always be around but things change, people change. Somebody moves, or switches jobs. Somebody withdrawals for a bit to cope with a personal issue. Or starts dating someone. Or gets married. And has a child. Or four. You try to connect for a while with texts or emails, maybe gab over lunch and promise to do it again but then you drift apart because one or neither of you made that effort. And work gets busy and life gets in the way and you find yourself saying, “I’m sorry, I’m just busy.”
Side note: To quote my friend Almie, “do not EVER tell anyone you are “booked”. You are not a dentist’s office. You are a person. People cannot be booked. Got it? Good.” <– Yeah, what she said.
Newsflash, we’re all busy. We all have work and life responsibilities, commitments we’ve made, projects to complete, other friends (heaven forbid!) to see, too. But friendship is about priorities, not excuses. It is about making time to connect with those that matter to us. Period.
I’m at a point in my life where I don’t want those people who make me feel small and inferior in my life anymore. I only want to surround myself with positive people; people who enrich my life, who care about my wellbeing, and inspire me and who make me a better person. People who make me laugh and who I not only want to have around, but who actively want me around too. And I see to it that I do everything I can to keep those people around.
Because as Ted articulately said, ‘When you find someone you want to keep around, you do something about it.”
P.S. I can tell this is important to a lot of people, I posted that quote on Facebook after it aired and it got 26 likes. Be sure to not let those you care about slip away either.