The transient nature of some relationships has really struck me lately as it seems to be a reoccurring theme in conversation with many of my friends. For instance, I was recently chatting with a friend who will be graduating this spring in a little under a month and she mentioned how she will be moving away from Toronto, back home far away. She said she is beginning to realize just how many people she met here in four years and so she is also beginning to realize just how many people she will leave behind when she returns home to start her life after undergrad. In the end, though, she said it’s all worth it because of the friendships she formed and how much she learned from them. Even though it will be hard to go, she implied it would be harder to have never made such strong connections in the first place.
As I, too, will be leaving soon, this conversation got me thinking. I have made so many positive friendships here with people I will really miss when I am gone. It’s just eight months, but maintaining these relationships is important to me because relationships in general are very important to me. Furthermore, it is equally as important to me to build strong relationships with people I meet while I am abroad on placement. This makes sense given my personality: A while ago, I re-did a Myers Briggs profile test with another friend of mine and I found that I am still (and probably will forever be) an ‘ENFJ‘, which means it’s literally coded into my personality that meaningful friendships and connections with others is key to my happiness and my feeling satisfied with life.
Thinking back, I’ve always been driven to really get to know people. I remember when I was in high school feeling confused that the world is often asking us “What is the meaning of life?” when I had always known that, for me, the meaning of life is connecting with others and learning and growing from those connections and experiences. I surely must’ve absorbed this from my mum. When I was little, she would remind me that everyone you meet is your teacher, meaning there is something to learn from every relationship and interaction you have with others no matter if it is positive or negative or even seemingly inconsequential.
I can see how this idea has impacted my life. For example, I work in student life on residence, which means it is my job to connect with people and also to help them connect with each other, and I love it! On residence, though, the impermanence of relationships can be quite obvious as people move in, stay only for a few months, then move out to pursue new adventures. Students often only live on rez for their first year, or even their first semester of school. While they will build many lasting relationships that persist beyond their time here, they will also have connections that fade when they move away. I’m recounting this not as a lament but as more of a reminder to myself that while some connections might feel fleeting or insignificant, they can actually have a big impact your life.
This is definitely something I’m keeping in mind in regards to the relationships I will build while I am abroad. I want to not be afraid of making friends and connecting with people just because I will be moving back home in eight months. Instead, I want to embrace the time I have to connect as much as I can and learn as much as I can from the people I encounter. At the end of the day, it is through meaningful relationships, no matter how long or short, that we grow.