This weekend was very friend-centric for me. I had kick ball with some friends Friday night. My best friend from high school was in town this weekend. I went to yoga and brunch with one of my close neighbor friends, and I went to dinner with some of my college and book club friends.
Topics were all over the board… but one topic in particular stuck out the most:
I’ve written about the ebb and flow and evolution of friendships before. The stories I was sharing with my various pals over the weekend just reaffirmed to me a few things about human nature and friendship.
1) Longevity. It is rare for a childhood friend to grow with you- in the same direction- the entirety of your lives. If you have a friendship like this, cherish it, because it is very rare. Life offers so many alternate paths and you don’t always end up on the same path as your friend. The things that were important to you as kids- you had in common. That may not be the case twenty years later. Sometimes the friendship can withstand these changes. Sometimes it cannot. And should not. A friend may simply be on that other path. Or maybe a friend has never moved and it’s keeping you from moving forward. It’s up to you to determine where that friendship now lives in your life.
2) Roles. The people you surround yourself in your thirties and forties should be in a supportive role vs. a leading role. When we are fifteen and unsure of our decisions, we go to our friends to get advice. I think as adults (unless we’re asking for it) we know what we need to do- and now we’re just looking for support. The dynamic has shifted.
3) Definition. It’s ok to change the definition of a friendship. As kids, husbands, moving closer, moving away all enter the picture, it’s ok that you aren’t connected at the hip anymore. It’s ok that your friendships look differently now. You’ve all transformed yourselves as individuals, why wouldn’t those relationships transform too?
I’ve transitioned/made new/redefined friends all the time. Most of you know I have a three strikes you’re out rule with flakers. So those friends have come and gone. If you look at different ‘snap shots’ in my life, you may see a few of the usual suspects. But a lot of those circles have changed over the years- whether because I’ve moved, changed jobs, hobbies, etc… My friends today may not be my close friends in ten years… sad to think, but it’s reality. I look back at all the weddings I went to ten years ago and can honestly say I don’t know most of those people anymore… it was a snap shot, a point in time in their lives and mine.
Friends are important for everyone to have. It makes you a part of something, they are strands in the fabric of your life. Your family, your spouse, kids, brothers/sisters, work colleagues are all a part of that too- and maybe those worlds overlap. Friends will come and go, it is up to you on defining how those friends become a part of your life’s fabric.
Need a little help?Here’s an interesting cheat sheet for cultivating good friendships.
Now, what about your friends?