…one is silver and the other is gold.
Or at least that’s what the old childhood song taught us. Thing is, I’m learning that as an adult, it’s not always so easy to keep those old (or those new) friendships going. Sometimes, life just happens. Kids are born. Marriages end. People get transferred. Families get complicated. Time in the day starts to run out.
How do you keep relationships going?
I’ll be the first to admit that while I have some great friends and many of those friends are friends I’ve had in my life for many, many years, I don’t necessarily have friends from my childhood. Okay, have one great friend from high school that I’m still in touch with and now thanks to Facebook, I’ve reconnected with an old elementary school friend online. My HS friend and I talk regularly, send emails and get together when we can (though now that he got married and is on the family track, that will more than likely change).
I also have great friends that I met as an adult. Both of these are long distance (one is even international) relationships and have been for over 10 years now. We don’t talk on the phone much. We don’t get to see each other often. And we rarely get around to emailing. But you know, every time we do talk or get together, it’s as if we were just together last week. Things just carry on as if we see and talk to each other all the time. I love that.
I also love that when it’s possible, we do meet up. I’ve flown to Dallas to hang out with my international teaching friend to be able to spend time with her. Last year, she met me in the wine country for the day so we could hang out and introduce the menfolk (and in each case, meet the other’s significant other). My GA friend I get to see more frequently since I try to visit my dad every couple of years. She’s an angel tough and no matter how busy her family and work life can get, she makes sure we meet for lunch at least once and offers up her spare bedroom so I don’t have to spend all my time trapped with my dad (I’m sure you all know what that can feel like).
The best part about friendship is knowing that you’ll always be there for each other…happy or sad, good or bad. As my girlfriend and I like to say…It’s in the contract!
But what happens when friendships start to become work?
I have a friend that I would do anything for. She’s a new mom, lives with her parents and has some serious family and medical stuff to deal with. I love spending time with her and her family. Thing is, she won’t return calls. And she won’t return emails or texts (or cards). I know that she’s the type that tends to hide away when things get difficult (I saw this when she was having marriage issues) and I can respect that. But it’s getting old.
A one-sided friendship isn’t a friendship at all. And well, I wouldn’t let my spouse treat me this way, why would I let a friend? I’ve reached the point that I feel like I’ve just got to give up and walk away. I’ll still be there if there ever comes a time when she might need me, but I can’t keep spending all this time and energy reaching out to her when she can’t even take a moment to reply to an email, text or voicemail. It’s tough though having to make a decision like that, knowing that I think of her often.
So it’s got me wondering…as an adult, how many close friends would you say you have in your life and how often do you connect? Have you ever had to quit on a friendship?