Life’s Bus Stops: People’s Roles in Your Life

You’ve probably heard the expression, “Life’s a journey.” But have you ever heard the phrase, “Life’s a bus ride?”

I know what you’re thinking. A bus ride doesn’t seem very glamorous.

However, the metaphor captures the transitory nature of people’s roles in your life. Life’s journey is like a long bus ride – people will hop on and off throughout the route. As they do, you should reflect on “life’s bus stops” and the role of the passengers that ride alongside you.

What are Life’s Bus Stops?

From the moment you’re born, you form different types of relationships with different people. Some people enter your life early on and stick around for it all, while others may hop on and hop off throughout the duration.

If you’ve ridden a bus, you know that there is a planned route with planned stops, and it’s only at these stops that people can get on or off the bus. Well, the same could be said for the people in our lives.

A planned stop, for example, could be when you start a new job or move to a new city. Why are these planned? Because in these situations, we expect to meet new people and form new relationships, requiring the bus to stop to let these people on our bus and into our lives. This could be anyone you would expect to meet at this specific spot, such as new coworkers, friends, landlords, neighbors, or bosses.

Other times, these stops are not as planned. Sometimes life forces us to take a detour, and we may end up on an unfamiliar road. Even though this isn’t your expected route, you might make an unplanned stop in which you let someone on your bus whom you would never have met otherwise.

Consider you are boarding an eight-hour flight only to realize you forgot your book or headphones, so instead, you talk to the person next to you for the entire flight. While you may not have expected to meet this person and form the connection you did, you have now stopped your bus and offered them a ride. Depending on the relationship you developed throughout the flight, they may hop on and stick around long after the end of your travels.

These are life’s bus stops. Whether you expect to stop your bus or not, it’s all about keeping your heart open to spontaneous connections and letting the right people on – in other words, those you want to take life’s journey with you.

The Roles People Play in Your Life

We can’t all be the main character in other people’s journeys. People play many different roles in your life, just as you may play different roles in the lives of others. It’s essential to remember this fact and maintain an accurate perspective on the part you play in someone’s journey.

Below are some typical roles you may encounter at life’s bus stops. While there are numerous roles a person might play, the following are the most important.


These people could be lifelong friends or short-term acquaintances. You get along well because of shared interests, hobbies, or goals, and they’re often the first people you call when you want someone to keep you company on your road trip, on a night out, or to go shopping.

While the people who fill this role will often be great friends to us, the relationship may be founded on convenience. When convenience is at the heart of the relationship, it may be unable to endure the hard times or a change of scenery.


A boss, a coworker, or a neighbor. These people are in your life during defined situations where you can’t always decide when they show up in your life or when they leave.

They may be positive or negative influences, but we must all learn to navigate the emotional complexities of choosing how much of ourselves to put into these relationships.


Initially, this sense of family referred to the people who have been in your life since the beginning. And it was one of the only relationships we had very little control over – as the saying goes, you can’t choose family.

But many fail to realize that family no longer refers to those related by blood, as not everyone gets along or continues their relationships with their blood relatives. Nowadays, family refers to those you trust the most, the people you feel safest coming to when you’re at your lowest. So, a family can be chosen. 

To some, their blood relatives may be whom they consider their family, those who know them best, have their back, and want the best for them. It might be their sisters, brothers, parents, or grandparents, while for others, their family could be their best friends, pets, or partner. 

Family is what you make it. No one has the right to be in your life unless you want them there.


These are our kindred spirits – the people we feel connected to the most. They know our innermost thoughts and desires and are with us through life’s ups and downs.

But, sometimes, they’re not. We’ve all had close friends or romantic partners whose own journeys have taken them down a separate path. This can be painful, but it’s all part of life, and it’s up to us how we respond to these unexpected detours.

How do the Roles People Play Tie into Life’s Bus Stops?

Just like a bus driver doesn’t tell their passengers when to get on or off, it’s not up to you to decide the actions of others. If they want to get off your bus at some point, you need to let them.

Very few people in your life will stay until the final stop, and that’s okay. We must realize everyone is on their own path, taking a different route to get there.

When someone decides they don’t want to be on your bus anymore, it can be hurtful, but it’s better to pull over and let them get off to make more room for new passengers you’ll pick up further down the road. It helps to understand that it has less to do with you and more with their needs and desire for change or growth.

When we release ourselves from the belief that we need to do everything in our power to keep all our passengers on our bus, we realize that outgrowing relationships is a normal and healthy part of life. Everyone changes, and as they change, relationships evolve, so remember that it’s okay to let people go when you’re heading in different directions.

Where Will the Bus Go Next?

Despite our best-laid plans and intentions, no one knows where their bus is heading next. Even if we try to stick to the pre-determined route, life will likely throw a few roadblocks and detours our way.

If you struggle to deal with unexpected events or want to learn how to build positive behaviors to help you cope with change, please get in touch. I can’t tell you where your bus is going, but I can help you to understand the roadmap and determine your best routes.

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