Did you watch this month’s series finale of How I Met Your Mother? There were some big surprises, and while I’m not outraged with the ending like some people seem to be, it isn’t the way that I would have chosen to end the show. What did resonate with me from this episode is the realistic way in which the relationships between the characters progressed over a number of years.
Throughout the episode they repeatedly talked about how they will always be together for “the big things,” even if they don’t otherwise keep in touch. In high school and college we bond with people. We make friends and develop relationships that we say will last forever. We will be BFFs forever, right? And who knows, with social media becoming such a big part of our lives, maybe we will be able to continue to be an important part of each other’s lives.
I have had three people in my life who I have considered best friends. One has been my friend since practically birth, another became a good friend in junior high, and the third I met in when I was in college for my first undergrad degree. At one point we were all four attending the same university and had a lot of fun together. Then things started unraveling a bit as graduations, marriages, and births occurred.
The junior high friend met an international student who she followed back to Sweden and later married. I haven’t seen nor heard from her for about ten years now. The friend from childhood recently got married and I was her matron of honor. We are still best friends but sometimes go months without speaking, or more than a year without seeing each other. The friend from college also lives several hundred miles away and we see each other about once a year as well. She’s expecting her second child and I am so excited for her – I just wish we could see each other more often.
We all text, Facebook message, and “like” each other’s updates and photos of our kids, but the actual phone calls are few and far between. Like Lily, Marshall, Barney, Ted, and Robin, we tend to connect over the “big things” like weddings, funerals, and the occasional kids birthday party, but it will never be the same as when we were in our early twenties. As we get busy with careers, spouses, kids, carpool, housekeeping, ailing parents, mortgages, etc., we seem to drift apart. While our hearts are still in our friendships, our minds and bodies are so busy going, going, going, that we slip away from each other.
I think that the lesson that we can take from HIMYM is that it’s OK for our relationships to change. As we move into our thirties our priorities have to change. We may not hang out with our friends on a regular basis anymore, but that doesn’t mean that we love each other any less. It just means that we have to focus on our kids, jobs, spouses, homes, and family. Some friendships are meant to last forever, and others are not. How do we know the difference between the two? For the true blue, BFF, meant to be together friends, we always manage to make it back together for the big things.