The older I get the more my perspective on friendships has changed. When you’re little everyone is your best friend except for the kid in your pre-kindergarden class who hasn’t learned how to share yet, but as you get older friendships get a little more tricky. These are the lessons I have learned about friendship within the last year.

It’s 50/50: If people want you in their life, they will make an effort to put you there. Calling, texting and snap chatting someone to find out a good time to meet up and hang out is fine, but ask yourself is this effort being reciprocated? How many times have you reached out to them? Do they respond? Do they always have excuses? Good friendships are all about meeting people half way. You can’t constantly cross oceans for people who refuse to jump over puddles for you.

Communication: Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more frustrating than sending a text and receiving a response two days later or not receiving one at all. In this day and age, it is proven that people have their cell phones within 2 to 3 feet from them at all times. A missed call here and there is fine and forgetting to respond to a text immediately is okay, but there is no excuse for not responding at all. It really comes down to common courtesy, respect and valuing the other person’s time. Friendships are based off of communication, so if that is lacking what do you really have?

Enemies or friends: It doesn’t have to be the new year to do an inventory of your life and the people in it. My strength coach always says, “People and things in your life will either be positive or negative stressors. There is no in between.” So find out what your “friends” are to you. You might be surprised to find that some of the people you think added a lot to your life are actually people that you can live without. Some of the people you think are in your corner can be holding you back. Don’t be fooled, simply move them to the proper circle in your life.

Direction is key: You can be making progress but in the wrong direction. “Align yourself with people who are moving in the direction that you want to go”, is what my mother always says. This point in particular has caused me to lose a lot of friends this past year. As much as you enjoy someone’s company if they are not propelling you forward and helping you better yourself every day, they are simply holding you back. Don’t stunt your progress and potential because people are weighing you down. Drop the dead weight and keep climbing!

Reason, season or both: People come into your life for a reason, whether that is to teach you a lesson or add a new layer to your perspective, but sometimes their stay doesn’t last long. Not all friendships are built to last and that’s okay. Though great memories are created and bonds are formed circumstances change so will your friendships. Some friendships make it through multiple season, but many do not and it is important to understand that this isn’t the end of the world. When it comes to friendships, especially ones that have come to an end, it is critical that you look at the lessons you have learned through them to better understand why they were put into your life in the first place.

All in all, I have lost a few friendships this year due to some of the same points I have mentioned above and honestly it has hurt. Despite the pain, one thing I have realized is what each of those people were brought to my life for the time that they were a part of it. Some were placed in my life to help me get through tough times, and others were there to teach me lessons. No matter how painful the ending of the friendship was I am still grateful that God allowed us to cross paths and that I was able to enjoy their company even if it was just for a season.