Lena Dunham’s “Girls” wrapped up its third season last month on a bleak note. The four girls are falling apart — Jessa’s a drug addict, Shoshanna didn’t graduate, Marnie is miserable and Hannah is fighting with her boyfriend. But they’re also falling apart from each other; their friendships are decaying.

As I talked about this with a friend, she explained that the failure of their friendships is refreshing. So many shows and movies center on what she aptly termed “the tribe” and the importance of having friends you’re with forever. She felt that only “Girls” has the audacity to show the truth: Sometimes the tribe is a bad thing. Your friends give bad advice, they hold you back or they sabotage you.

She had a point. Sometimes friends suck. Sometimes tribes fall apart even if you get along just because of things like distance and time.

If shows like “Friends” or “How I Met Your Mother” or “Community” or the myriad of shows about the “tribe” were more realistic, those groups wouldn’t stay together for endless years. It’s partially because those narratives are constructed so that the people have to stay together. But I don’t think narrative necessity is the only reason for the glorification of tribes. Groups of friends are important in the real world too. Without people to trust, we cannot be fully functioning and thriving human beings.

Take Olivia Pope from “Scandal.” She allegedly has the loyalty and love of her “gladiators in suits,” but in reality, she trusts no one, never daring to fully open up to anyone around her. Liv keeps everything close to the chest, burdening herself with anxiety and keeping her from forming deep attachments.

By keeping people who work together isolated from each other, “Scandal” shirks the more common trope of coworkers pushed together and becoming a family. That’s what happens on “Park and Recreation,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Mindy Project” and countless others.

The girls of “Girls” have the same problems as Olivia Pope and Associates. They’re friends, but not really. They hate each other a little, they keep secrets from each other and they rarely open up about their real feelings.

We’re left with two models of the tribe — one that involves real intimacy and camaraderie, and one that only appears to. The takeaway from “Girls,” then, ought not to be that groups of friends are always unsustainable, but rather, that some are.

At the end of “30 Rock” — would it be “Girl Meets World” if I didn’t mention “30 Rock”? — Liz almost loses her friendships with Jack and Tracey. Only when she’s finally able to open up about her feelings is she able to have sustaining moments of intimacy. When Jack and Liz proclaim their platonic love for each other, we know that their friendship will go on, even if they’re kept apart by distance, because their bond is real.

I was worried when my friend made that comment about the friends on “Girls.” At Georgetown, I found my own weird tribe. But if “Girls” is about how college friendships can’t last when you grow up, does that mean my tribe is fleeting and childish too?

Well, maybe. We fight sometimes. There’s drama. We make mistakes and hurt each other, often when we didn’t mean to.

But maybe not. We’ve got a lot of good too. Secrets, memories, fun, love. Nights that never ended, days that were inexplicably perfect, conversations that went on for hours.

What’s important, in the end, is that time we had together, whatever comes next. Just as the nine seasons of “How I Met Your Mother” bring me solace in light of the imperfect ending, my four years at Georgetown will always be an amazing memory, even if, despite my best efforts, I lose some of my friends in the future. That’s OK, as much as the thought is a little debilitating right now.

But let’s focus on right now. Right now, I am surrounded by love and happiness. Right now, I am humbled by those around me, who love, accept and support me, for the most part unconditionally. I cherish the moments we’ve had together, but also the moments we’re making right now, and I’m looking forward to the remaining thirty-six days we have left together. And I’m excited about the tribes we’ll form in the future, the new adventures and the new people we’ll share them with. Because of you, I’m ready to face the world outside the gates.

In his last episode of “Doctor Who,” Matt Smith’s Doctor proclaimed, “We’re all different people all through our lives, and that’s okay, that’s good. You gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be. I will not forget one line of this, not one day, I swear. I will always remember when the Doctor was me.”

I will not forget one line of this, not one day. Try to remember me too.

 

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