Human relationships are challenging, messy and often difficult to navigate.

In my younger years, I had an idealized expectation of human relationships. Thanks to the portrayal of human connectedness in entertainment, it became easy to white wash the experience.

After years of experiencing the ebbs and flows of friendships and human connection, here is what I wish I knew sooner.

It’s Not Always So ‘Kumbaya’

For a very long time, it was easy to think that friends are people who will always be there. In many ways, many of us are conditioned to think that friendships have this everlasting ability to always be feel-good, unicorn, dopamine-fueled experiences.

After thinking like this for so long, I quickly realized in my adult years that becuase friendships have humans in them, they are often messy, difficult and challenging. In my opinion, there aren’t enough resources out there to help people navigate healthy friendships. Especially now, we fall into the trap that everything will always flow effortlessly, and that is rarely reality.

What I Wish I Knew About Relationships Before Now
Photo Credit: Nicole Berro

They Have an Expiry Date, And That’s Okay

When I was younger, I never had the thought or knowledge that friendships often ended. In my mind, friendships were made to last forever. I quickly went into my adult years and learned that many times, people outgrow each other.

Before now, it was easy to hold on to relationships that did not serve me, but after a few life lessons, this knowledge has been a game changer and has ultimately helped me to let go of the wrong relationships and only connect with people that are healthy, fulfilling and selfless.

What I Wish I Knew About Relationships Before Now
Photo Credit: Jackie Parker

They Come in All Ages

I only used to think that friends only needed to fall within the same age range. In my adult years, I have formed friendships with people who fall into various ages and demographics.

Having friends from diverse age groups is also beneficial because it gives a unique insight into life’s issues and how people from other age groups and backgrounds have approached them.

What I Wish I Knew About Relationships Before Now
Photo Credit: nappy

They Can Bring Pain, And That’s Okay

Friendship PTSD is a real phenomenon that is not often talked about. It can occur after a friendship ends, fizzles out or implodes. There are many situations that cause PTSD within or after a friendship, but many of us were not taught about the discomfort that can often happen after devastation within a friendship.

Relationships do not only hurt at the end only when they are romantic, and that’s okay. Like many things in life, pain teaches us things and helps us to be reflective and intentional about the future and choices we make moving forward.