An Open Letter To My Childhood Friends

Emily Stamp writes an open letter to her childhood friends, thanking them for the help they gave her during hard times but also lamenting their loss of contact.


It has been a while since we chatted, but sometimes I think of you and I just wanted to say “thank you.”

At some point we became awkward, we drifted, changed, got lost in the crazy that is moving to another school and then to uni, and we just rarely pick up the phone and message each other now. Part of that is my fault - constant messaging stresses me out, so I abstain from the practice as much as I can and, when I remember, I do not know what to say. Sometimes I feel like a completely different person to the one you knew. At other times we are eleven-year-olds sitting at the edge of the playground, thinking we were on top of the world; kids sorting out crushes, going through all of the awkward stages together and not worrying because we would be friends forever. Forever has come a little soon. I miss you sometimes because ‘childhood friends’ are different to ‘adult friends’, but I think if I needed you, you would still be there. I hope you realise I am still here too, if you need me.

There are a lot of things I have never thanked you for. I didn’t know I needed to. When we were closer, it went unsaid and now I do not like contacting people just to stir up the past. Thank you for standing by me even when I could not understand the familial changes in my life, and for trying, despite the fact that I was not willing to share. From patching me up and giving me non-judgemental hugs, to listening to my tears down the phone late at night and always offering your house as a place to stay (although I never took you up on it out of guilt). For not mentioning the 'cat scratches' when we all knew I was allergic and for not making a deal out of my counselling when I finally told you about it. For not worrying my parents with it too, I told them in my own time and then rang one of you in tears. 

Thank you for the laughter, the movie nights, the baking, the acceptance of my quiet days and my unresponsive days and the days where my smile was not quite so genuine, but you were going to grin back at me anyway, because I tried for you. Thank you for never pushing – well, some of you did and, to be honest, I needed it. Thank you to everyone who had no idea what I was going through and did not bother to scratch the surface so kept treating me as normal, because, in your eyes, I was. I am always ashamed that my acting was that good, to have so many people fooled, but you probably helped me in ways none of us knew by being yourself and treating me as me; or, at least, the me you thought I was. I did not always feel very 'me' and even now I do not know what that is or was, but thank you for not singling me out.

Sometimes it takes coming out of dark periods to realise the people that stood by you, and sometimes there are way more than you think. Some interactions become retrospectively more important and there are some thanks I just can’t say out loud, even now, over five years down the line. This letter applies to all of you, but not all of it applies to everyone. I like to think you know who you are. You may not, never having realised the impact you have made and you may never even read this. But that is okay, it mattered to me on days where apathy took hold and you are even more important because of it.

So thank you, for everything.