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By Lunga Simelane


You can never be the perfect friend, no matter how hard you try

The one thing I have always reminded myself of is that no-one is perfect.

While some may believe friendships should not be the hardest thing to maintain, I honestly feel it’s one of the toughest things to uphold as we get older – especially during these trying times.

And why is it hard? Because we are all too tired. Any adult will tell you how awkward and hard making and sustaining friends is in adulthood. And the older you get, the trickier it is to make new friends and maintain old friendships.

There is plenty which has to be considered: the lifestyle of that potential friend, personality, mental stability and so forth. We struggle to keep up because as we grow and change, our interests and priorities also shift. It can result in a difference in opinion, which can easily cause disagreements.

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We are going through a lot and have to constantly deal with issues. As Gen Z, we never thought being adults could be this hard. People say we complain too much, but do we?

If it is not a struggle with finances, it’s school, work pressure, life after school, finding a job… And while trying so hard to work through these, one also has to avoid going crazy because of it. Everyone has stuff going on. Some need more money, others have kids and some are dealing with death.

I always ask myself: how on earth did our parents do this?

As a friend said: “It’s so scary now when you realise that when your parents told you they do not have money, literally after payday, we thought they were playing us. But as an adult now, one finally understands the difficulties they were going through.”

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But back to friendships. I have struggled to maintain my strongest friendships. I could say separation has truly been the biggest factor. I know “separation” is the one aspect which tests the strength of that friendship but, wow, it has been hard.

I went from constantly having some of my closest friends around to nearly never because of school and work. We know we can contact each other any time of the day, but life really tends to be too much and you’ll find it is super difficult to constantly have to be present.

However, acknowledging things as an individual can also be powerful. Everyone is at a different stage of life, despite being the same or similar age. It’s important to realise and acknowledge when the friendship is not on common ground anymore.

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It doesn’t mean you do not care. Life is just like that and we find ourselves constantly evolving, becoming new people and meeting new people, even through the hardships. It’s important that we allow ourselves and those around us some time to get used to all the changes happening.

Most big changes tend to get us thinking and feeling a lot, which can cause a friendship to lapse. It is also totally normal and quite positive to reflect on the different stages of your life.

There is nothing wrong with raising questions over your friendships – especially when you find yourself thinking about the impact that friendship has had on you. The one thing I have always reminded myself of is that no-one is perfect. You can never be the perfect friend, no matter how hard you try.

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You can try to always ensure you are present and consistent – but even if you are not, it doesn’t mean you love the person any less. I like to believe that people appear and disappear in your life for a reason – and I will always keep an open mind about those who might reappear.

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