“And all the boys are smoking menthols
Girls are getting back rubs
I will drift to you if you make yourself shake fast enough
My old aches become new again
My old friends become exes again
Whoa, where did the party go?
We’re ending it on the phone
I’m not gonna go home alone
Whoa, where did the party go?”
-Fall Out Boy, “Where Did The Party Go?”
When it was going good, it was going great.
Nothing at all like The Great Gatsby; no big parties at lavish mansions where champagne flowed like a steady stream of rain. But there were lots of friends.
Looking around, she was convinced she could name over 100 people off the top of her head; each one was a friend. Each one had found some place in her life, like a lamp on a nightstand or a picture on the wall.
But when she got home, she noticed her wall featured very few pictures of people she knew. Most of the photographs were city skylines or artsy black and whites, bare of any familiarity. In more ways than one, this realization troubled her.
She thought of the other bedrooms she’d been in. All of her friends seemed to have a dozen photos or more of people they spent time with constantly.
Not that she was in more than one.
Pushing the thought from her mind, she tried to get through the rest of the week without grasping at the straws of sleep.
That weekend, she bumped into a friend.
Not four months prior, they had been as thick as thieves, with not an awkward moment between them.
Now it was like engaging in small talk with a perfect stranger.
“How’s your love life?” She questioned, obviously unsure of what else to say.
“Um…non-existant.” A smile. A laugh. “I’ll um…see you in a little bit?”
They part ways and it’s as though nothing ever happened.
She thinks back to when everything was going good, and how when the bad blew up, people, friends, had flocked to give support or to provide comfort.
As soon as the excitement had died down, it was like the aftermath of a pool party; there was a mess everywhere that she didn’t know where to begin with, and an empty pool.
Her curious eyes traveled over what was left, and before she could stop herself, the words came tumbling from her lips:
“Where did the party go?”
I may have mentioned before that when it comes to friendships, I haven’t the best of luck. For whatever reason, I tend to pick out the most fickle person in the room, and bond with them.
That’s not to say I am entirely innocent. I’ll own up and admit that I have probably, at some point, been a pretty crappy friend too. I think we’ve all been there. It sucks to admit, but, hey, let’s own up to our mistakes here.
Anyway, I was thinking about friendship this week.
Friends are the family you get to choose. They’re your teammates throughout all the difficult things in life.
Or, at least, that’s what they’re supposed to be.
However, in my limited nineteen years, one thing I have found to be true is that when it’s going good, it’s going great.
When everything in your life is making sense, everyone wants to be a part of the fun.
They want the fun of the party, the tickets to the show, the pictures on every social media going, and the very buzz of “Look at where I am/what I’m doing/who I’m with.”
But misery also enjoys company. It feeds off of your downfalls and the moments when everything seems to be falling apart.
Everyone wants to know the story and be around to watch you cry.
For some, they are genuinely concerned. For others, it’s all about the drama.
And once the drama or the excitement fades away, and the lives that were left in shambles start to piece themselves together, you look around, and maybe a handful of the people who were there before have stuck around.
Within a matter of months, the people that you considered your closest friends, your family, your team, can be like perfect strangers.
No fights required.
But I think that’s what makes real friendship so powerful.
When you have a friend that is genuine and upfront about who they are.
There is no bullshit with this person; no persona put on for your benefit.
They are there to celebrate your triumphs and comfort you in times of failure, and you are there for them in that same way.
There is mutual give and take.
There is no jealousy, only respect.
And yes, sometimes you get on each other’s last nerve, or you disagree, or you unintentionally hurt one another.
But you love and appreciate each other because of all the other people who left when everything fell apart.
I can count on one hand who my truest friends are.
They are the people I call when I am upset.
They are the people I call when I am excited and thrilled about something.
They are the people I giggle with like I’m a five year old telling a “poop joke.”
They are the people I want to cry for when something bad happens to them.
They are the people I want to sing and dance with when they get what they wanted most.
I appreciate the true friends I have because of the shitty ones I had before.
As I get older, one thing that is becoming increasingly clear to me is that your friends are your team. They are a family you can choose. They are the party guests to whom you wrote the invitations.
It’s not like elementary school where you have to invite everyone.
You don’t have to be friends with the world.
Be choosy about who you let into your life.
Have the gumption to say to someone, “You weren’t there for me when I needed you the most, and I don’t think this is a good friendship.”
Why surround yourself with people who, while they make the highs feel really high, also make the lows feel pretty damn low?