Sunday, November 20, 2011

When friendships fade away...

Friendship is easy when you're a kid.  You ring the doorbell of your friend's house, ask their parents, "Can Susie come out to play?" and then you're off.  You see each other at school, sit at lunch together, and play at recess.  You don't have your own phone/car, so sleepovers are orchestrated by your parents.  It takes little effort, and it's glorious to have such a great buddy.  A LOT of buddies.  And friendship makes life better. 

But then you grow up... high school, college, and beyond.  And it gets harder and harder to remain close friends with someone.  People move, have kids, change interests.  I've found that I have far fewer close friends as I get older, through a seemingly natural attrition that occurs over time.  It hurts to realize the girls on your sports team in high school weren't really that into you after all.... it hurts to not get a wedding invite from someone you considered to be a friend... it hurts to see your local friends go places/have get-togethers on Facebook when they haven't responded to your offers to go out.

Friendship offers us some amazing benefits, especially as women.  We respond better to stress when we have friends; we even live longer.

"Yet if friends counter the stress that seems to swallow up so much of our life these days, if they keep us healthy and even add years to our life, why is it so hard to find time to be with them? That's a question that also troubles researcher Ruthellen Josselson, Ph.D., co-author of Best Friends: The Pleasures and Perils of Girls' and Women's Friendships (Three Rivers Press, 1998)....

Every time we get overly busy with work and family, the first thing we do is let go of friendships with other women, explains Dr. Josselson. We push them right to the back burner. That's really a mistake because women are such a source of strength to each other. We nurture one another. And we need to have unpressured space in which we can do the special kind of talk that women do when they're with other women. It's a very healing experience."
(from this article)

Do these kinds of friendships exist?
I'm tired.  I'm beginning to think that, with a few exceptions, that Sex & the City friendships don't really exist.

At least, not for people like me.  Maybe I'm just bad at friendship with other women.  But I'm tired of being the one who is always understanding, always giving, when there is no reciprocation.  I'm deleting lurkers from Facebook.  I don't want to be an afterthought.  So people are going to have to step it up, or I'll just let them fade away as I continue the friendships I have with those who give me as much as I give them.  I won't be a doormat.

Because I do have some amazing, great friends.  Friends who text me or send me e-mails just because they think of me.  Friends who call weekly.  Friends who make me their first choice for shopping outings or weekend trips.  Long-distance friends who clear their schedules when I'm visiting their city/state/region, because they really want to see me.  Friends who, after a long absence, apologize and make the effort.  All I need is a Twitter or Facebook conversation to feel connected to them.

So I'm at peace with the fact that maybe I will have only a handful of really close friends, and lose some of the friendships I thought to be special.  It happens; c'est la vie.  Hold on to the ones that matter.


  1. I definitely went through a period where I consciously decided to stop putting effort into friendships that weren't worthwhile. I asked myself, what do I get out of all this work? If the answer was "not much" or "a headache" or the occasional "a glass of beer on me," I cut them out. Your time is too expensive to waste on people who don't appreciate you!

  2. JTal, I totally agree. And I love that every time I am home, you, Richard, and Paul all somehow manage to make time to see me!!! I don't expect that, and it's just such a warm, wonderful feeling every time I'm back in town.


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