On Friendships: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Living in Austin has felt at times like College Part 5: Melissa’s Wild Years Revisted (“Part 5” because I went to no less than two different colleges and a couple junior colleges to get my bachelor’s, but I digress…)

Besides some of my rekindled wildness, it’s felt a lot like college here in another way in this—well—very much-college-oriented town (hook ‘em horns, anyone?). Like much of my college experience, everyone is moving here from somewhere else and we’re all in this humid hot pot of 20-30-somethings trying to meet new people, figure out our new lives here, and who we are in the process. 

It’s a little embarrassing to say, but there have been times in my life when I’ve been mostly friendless. Not that I didn’t have any friends, just none around in my social circle at the time—they were at another school or state, or I wasn’t as focused on regular socializing. I’ve had many times where I was simply on my own.

Outside of the relationship, living with my ex out in Joshua Tree was one of those times. I was so occupied with releasing my last album Miracles (as well as dealing with our constant up and down relationship struggles), I hadn’t really made the effort to form new friendships.

It was a pattern, though, I’d been following for about a year or so prior once I moved back to my hometown of San Jose after living in Savannah, GA. Being really active in the music scene during my time in the south, I’d made lots of nice friends and acquaintances, but back in San Jose this time around, I mostly hung out with old friends I’d had (and very sparsely), and didn’t really form any new friendships.

When I moved down to L.A., I did much the same, hanging out with older friends from college—which can be a great thing, of course—but you slowly start to get out of the habit of how to welcome new friends into your life.

After my breakup, and moving several states away from Joshua Tree to Austin, I had no choice but to make new friends. And being put in that kind of crucible was exactly what I needed to grow. As I was figuring out who I was again outside of my past relationship, choosing who I wanted in my life again was another way I was reforming who I was and getting to know myself more and more in the process.

As I initially delved into Austin’s carousing “wild side” post-break up, it led to some colorful but short-lived friendships. When I started making better decisions about my health and happiness, lo and behold better, more lasting friendships came about.

Some friendships from those early stages (the “ugly” kind) I had to let go, and this is OK. Other friendships I’ve made I feel incredibly blessed to have, and that within two years, I’ve been able to feel I could let people get close to me again enough to let them in.

Whatever kinds of friendship I’ve had here in Austin—the good, the bad, or the ugly—all I can say is I’m grateful for them. They’ve made me stronger than when I got here.