People come into our life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime – but can we always tell which one? Why do certain people come into our lives? How can we make sure we have the right people in our circle?
I love meeting new people, making friends, and keeping and maintaining friendships. However, we can’t just keep expanding our social circle; the bigger circles get, the less manageable they are. If you are standing in a massive, wide circle, you can’t make eye contact with everyone – some people are too far away. A large circle is fragile and prone to breaking away. And do we even need it anyway? A smaller circle is tighter, more protective of you: it can wrap around you like a hug.
The trick is deciding who makes it into this special group circle. With time being so precious in our busy, modern lives, we have to prioritise. We have no control over the people we meet of course, but we have the ability to make the effort for those we want to keep in our lives. Common analogy, but friendship is like a plant: we water daily, feed it, trim off the horrible bits – but the plant still has to respond to this. The other person has to do their bit too – or nothing will grow. A friendship cannot survive without input on both sides. Or any kind of relationship for that matter.
I have lost some friendships and relationships with family members over the last few years. I can firmly and confidently say this is not down to me not making an effort. To start with anyway – I will make effort, until the other person doesn’t. Some of these relationships have naturally drifted apart because of changes in lives. Some have ended because they were toxic. Some people have left my life because they did something unforgivable. It’s all part of life. But one thing I have learnt – I will get in touch with people, arrange to see people, message people- – but only for so long. If it doesn’t get returned, I back off.
Additionally, I used to get a bit upset if I couldn’t connect with someone; if we didn’t get along. I have struggled throughout life with this – if someone doesn’t like me. But I’m learning to accept that it is absolutely fine: not everyone is meant to get on. You can’t be friends with everyone (a constant mantra to myself!) You can be the reddest, juiciest apple – but some people will prefer oranges. Of course, this means the circle that I do have is all the more valuable.
So why would people come into our life for a reason? I think sometimes we meet people to teach us something. Alternatively, we are meant to teach them something. We all meet people who we dislike too – and this is again a reason. We learn something about ourselves and relationships, and we can all move on.
Furthermore, a season can be any length of time throughout our lives: childhood, University, work etc. Some people will join mid-season and can completely enrich our lives for a Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter. They may move on – and you will too – but they were an important part of that section of your life.
I became friendly and thoroughly enjoyed the company of a lot of people throughout the planning of my sister’s wedding. ‘Sentimental me’ feels a little sad that I won’t see these people as often now – they are my sister’s friends or brother-in-law’s family. My husband jokes that we barely have time to see the people we already want to – but does that stop me trying to continue some of these friendships? Equally, I have some fantastic, fun colleagues at the moment – a lot are leaving in the Summer (how it tends to happen when you work in a school, sadly) and again, I can’t imagine not seeing them again. Not always realistic, but some of the “season” people can be upgraded to the “lifetime” circle. It’s all what’s meant to be – with effort on both parts too of course 😉
Finally, it kind of goes without saying, but those who make it to the “lifetime” circle are the ones who evolve with you, help you to become the person you need to be (and vice versa), and are there for the full journey: from seed to full growth.
Your life needs people from all these three categories though – just make sure you don’t let the really special ones go: invite them into your circle – and if they are truly special, they won’t want to leave it.