This evening I posted a tweet that said “Friendship can either be a two way street or a dead end. You decide.” And I meant something very specific when I said this. Either friendship is a two way street with mutual appreciation, respect, communication, love, and everything else we think of with strong friendships or it is a dead end friendship which has no future and the only thing to do is cut it off and turn around.
Now when I posted this tweet I was thinking of friendship in a very black and white type of way. Like, it can be this or that and nothing else. But then a friend replied to my tweet and simply said “it can be both…” And as simple as those words were, they opened up new ideas in my head and sent my thoughts into a spiral.
And I realized, yes, friendships really can be both a two way street and a dead end. I really sat down and thought about how that would work and I’m not sure if this is what he meant, but this is what I got from that.
OK so look. I’m going to break it down.
Some two way streets seem to go on forever and those symbolize those strong friendships that last for a lifetime.
Then there are some streets that you can clearly tell from the beginning are dead ends and those are those friendships that end as quickly as they started. It just wasn’t meant to last from the start.
But there are also some streets that seem like they will last forever, but eventually end in a dead end. This can be representative of friendships that are productive for a while but eventually reach a dead end. Those friends who helped you grow and learn for a season in life but were not meant to last a lifetime. During that season of life it seems like the friendship will never end, but eventually you start to see the signs. The ones that say “Dead End Ahead”. And you start to realize it won’t last forever and you both slow down until you come to a complete stop. And that is the end.
Now with those type of friendships you have a few choices. You can ignore the sign and keep trying to move forward, at your own risk. You can stay at that dead end and lament, cry, wallow, and feel sorry about the lost friendship. Or you can appreciate the friendship for what it was, realize not everything is meant to last, turn around and seek new paths.
I would hope you choose to let go, turn around, and seek new paths. Because continuing down a dead end road can be dangerous. You put yourself in harms way when you ignore the sign and you may find yourself in situations you were never meant to be in.
If I’m being honest, I struggle to let go of friendships even when they reach the clear “dead end” point. When I reach a dead end in a friendship it hits me hard and I want to do anything I can to fix it. But from past experience I have seen how holding on to a dead friendship can be detrimental. It was very damaging to me as I tried to salvage something while the other person had moved on.
But if you need to sit at the dead end for a moment while you gather yourself, it’s ok. Eventually though, you will need to turn around and seek new paths.
Even with those dead end friendships, it is important to appreciate them for what they were. Appreciate the good times you had, the moments you shared, and the lessons you learned. Those friendships were beneficial to your journey even though you may not be able to see that for a while.
As they say: some people stick around forever, but some are only meant for a season in your life. And that is ok.