There is no instruction manual to friendship. Or fighting. I learned my greatest lessons about friendship in my early twenties: how to be loyal and show someone they are appreciated, how to go with your gut, and how to be there for someone, really and truly.
The trials and tribulations of friendships in my early years were sweet but vexing, frustrating yet hilarious. One of the first squabbles I remember is when I was 16 and my best friend’s brother was in town from California. He was a darkly cute skater boy who introduced me to punk rock. I swooned. I didn’t think it would be a good idea to pursue it because I didn’t want to ruin my friendship. I told my best friend and she said, “My best friend and my brother? My two favorite people in the world? That would be great!” If I heard that now, I would run the other way. But at 16, I lacked experience and therefore happily pursued a summer fling with her brother. Three days later, she showed up at my door, stating that he and I couldn’t see each other anymore. Our relationship was never the same. Oh instincts, how wise you were.
There was also the time I ended up living with a close friend who wanted to be dating a guy more than anything else. We went out for brunch one Sunday, splurging on rich French toast, fluffy eggs and mimosas and had a great time. Or so I thought. As we were driving back, she says, “Brunch on Sunday with a boy would be perfect.” Oh so our fun, yummy brunch was just average because I was a girl. Yikes. I called her on it and she apologized but kept exhibiting the same behavior until we eventually broke up.
As I grew up I realized that great friendships aren’t maintained by being perfect all the time. These beautiful relationships are best without expectation. They flourish from a willingness to listen and the ability to honor who the other person is. You can’t be there every single time they need you. No one can. You do your best when you can. My friends and I look out for each other, whether it’s a job, a person that might help them out, advice, or an open heart. We talk about things that are bothering us, even in our friendship and when both people can be receptive and communicative and are willing to grow, there’s nothing like it.
Friend break-ups do happen and there are two sides to every story. Maybe I should’ve known better than to date a friend’s brother or invited her on our outings so she wouldn’t feel left out. Maybe instead of going to brunch I could’ve set my friend up with a guy friend who would take her out to brunch. Or maybe I should’ve gotten her so wasted on mimosas that she couldn’t tell whether I was a girl or a guy. Who knows? Friends do make mistakes.
Maybe Marnie and Hannah are just having growing pains, but hey, at least they’re communicating, even if it is loudly. Maybe their friendship will benefit from saying how they feel about each other and living in separate places. Maybe they won’t want to see each other ever again and it will be a clean break. Either way, one can only be so lucky as to have fights as hilariously entertaining as Hannah and Marnie’s.
Guest Post: Sharmila Sahni
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