Let me break a social norm: You don't have to be life-long friends with every person you become acquainted with. In fact, it's probably best you don't. Doing so could lead to 100 "friendships" with no depth. No one can carry the emotional burden of that many people on their shoulders.
Here's what usually happens:
Craig meets Darrel while they are both working as interns at a local accounting firm. They're young, fresh out of college, and in a similar life stage. Naturally, they bond over their shared experiences, eat few meals together, grab drinks, and maybe take a vacation or two with each other. Eventually, they become best friends.
After their two-year stint as interns, they're ready for something new. They want a job with more pay and more status. Nothing wrong with that, right?
So Craig gets a job on the East Coast and Darrel heads South. The goodbye is sad. They've shared laughs and memories together and now all that is coming to an end. They say they'll stay connected, and they probably do for a few months after the move but eventually, entropy sets in and their relationship dwindles. The final stage of this once strong relationship are casual swipe ups of 🔥 or 😂 on Instagram. Maybe the occasional, "I miss you."
This experience is all too common. But is that a bad thing? For some reason, society has deemed it to be.
The bitter best friend that got replaced at college or felt "forgotten" about is a popular storyline for Hollywood. And for some reason we have empathy for them. "How could they!" We think. "They shared so many memories together." But perhaps this is just the circle of life and we need to learn that. Not every person you're acquainted with at some point in life will become a life-long friend. Some will just be season-long friends. It doesn't diminish the memories, make them less of a person, or somehow mean the relationship was wrong. It was probably exactly what you needed at the time and now that you (and your season-long friend) are in a different place in life, it's time to part ways and head South, without the feeling of guilt or betrayal riding shotgun.
The Best Season-Long Friendship
If you've never seen Good Will Hunting, I implore you to drop everything right now and watch it. Good luck holding back the tears. But if you haven't that's okay.
A sub-plot in the movie is between two best friends, Will Hunting (Matt Damon) and Chuckie Sullivan (Ben Affleck). Will is a cocky genius who hasn't amounted to much in life other than getting in fights and hanging out with the boys. Chuckie is the average blue collar worker who works on his car on weekends and goes to the bar at night. Will and Chuckie have a routine. Chuckie picks up the boys in his car, drives to Will's house, and they go out on the town. This happens everyday. But the plot of the movie follows Will's nurturing of his genius and encouragement to make something out of his life, which is a speech Chuckie finally gives to Will after he's tired of seeing him throw his gifts down the drain:
(You can watch the video or read the script below)
Will: "What am I going to get out of here for? I'm gonna live here the rest of my life you know? Be neighbors. We'll have kids, take them to little league together up Folley Field."
Chuckie sighs and replies: "Look you're my best friend so don't take this the wrong way, but, in 20 years, if you're still living here, coming over to my house and watching the Patriots game and still working construction, I'll fuckin' kill ya. That's not a threat, that's a fact. I'll fuckin' kill ya."
Will, bewildered: "What are you talking about?"
Chuckie: "Look. You've got something none of us have–"
Will cuts him off: "Oh c'mon, why is it always this. I mean I fuckin' owe it to myself to do this or that. Wha- What if I don't want to."
Chuckie: "Nah, nah, nah, nah, fuck you. You don't owe it to yourself. You owe it to me. 'Cause tomorrow I'm gonna wake up and I'll be 50. And I'll still be doing this shit (construction). And that's alright. That's fine. But you're sittin' on a winning lottery ticket...
Every day I come by your house and I pick you up. And we go out and we have a few drinks and a few laughs and its great. You know what the best part of my day is? For about ten seconds from when I pull up to the curb to when I get to your door, 'cause I think maybe I'll get up there and I'll knock on the door and you won't be there. No goodbye. No see ya later. No nothing. You just left. I don't know much, but I know that."
The movie continues. Will has a breakthrough with his therapist, played by Robin Williams, and finally realizes what life is all about. He sets off to California to go see about a girl.
The camera cuts to Chuckie parking on the curb like he's done so many times before. He takes a quick jaunt up to Will's patio and knocks.
He looks through the dirty window inside and finds sheets folded neatly on the bed. His face turns from confusion to understanding. A slight grin begins to show on Chuckie's face followed by tears. He takes a 180 degree turn and slowly walks back to the infamous curb and shrugs to the boys in the car. Confused, he says "He's not there." But we all know what he's thinking.
"That son of a bitch left. No good bye. No see ya later. No nothing. He cashed in his winning lottery ticket."
Chuckie is the best kind of season-long friend. We learned from Will what matters most in life. We learned from Chuckie how to be a great friend and make those things matter.
There's nothing wrong with a season-long friendship. Sometimes, they have more impact on your life than anyone ever could.
This is the final scene, where Chuckie realizes will had left. I cried while watching it for this piece and I'll probably cry every time I watch it again. It's great.