For most of us, maintaining a friendship was never a “task”.
We’d pick up the phone and call the friend we literally just saw an hour ago, proceed to have that never ending chat until someone’s sibling picked up the phone from the other room and blackmailed us into hanging up. We’d hang up, promising to call back before dinner. We always kept our promise.
Unfortunately, life got the better of us and we grew up.
For a variety of reasons that may occur in combination with the other or just by itself, there are reasons that the complexities of being an adult and becoming ‘independent’ cause friendships of decades to drift apart.
Our partner begins to take precedence over others.
As we grow older, the one relationships that begins to take a more important place in our lives is love. We fall in and out of love, we make out, we break up, we are vulnerable, insecure and are grappling with who we are and who we love. While our early 20s usually is the time where our friendships are at its strongest, the bond is stronger, as we begin to grow older, we want to settle down and our partners in our lives become our present and future. We want to be able to give time to this person who has become such an integral part of our life, we see a future with this person and think it’s okay to bail on our friend who had been looking forward to that dinner all week. We make an excuse and instead rush over to the boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s. We justify this to ourselves “she would have done the same thing”.
When is the time? Our lives become a rut, we are struggling professionally to find stability, and never have the time to meet our friends, let alone make new ones.
While some of us are stuck in a job with the worst hours that doesn’t give us room to plan even a meal, some of us may have less busy jobs, but often you find it difficult to meet your schedule with your friend. If they are free, you are not and vice versa. Plans get cancelled, timings clash, and friendships suffer. You suddenly see your list of friends on Facebook expanding but the real friends in your lives, decreasing. There are just a handful that are with you, through thick and thin, but you are under a lot of pressure to sustain those meaningful relationships.
Our priorities change, we change as people. Often, we lose common ground.
We grow up and make different choices from our friends’, we are no longer together every day where we, by default, have the exact same choices or preferences. We begin to interact with different kinds of people and very often don’t have very much in common.
Failing to be there for your friend. That gotta hurt!
How many of us have bailed out on our friends? I have. We have been left guilt-ridden for days because we could not take the time out to meet them when they needed us the most. You feel like an absolute moron and yet you really can not help it. While we may have the best of intentions, but failing to be there for your friend when she has been through something terrible and is down in the dumps is not something that will be taken lightly.
Proximity is key.
While some friendships may be easier to maintain, proximity does play a role. A new job or deciding to pursue a course or sometimes even your partner may require one to move cities. More often than not, we get caught up in this whirlwind of being in a new place and struggle to keep in touch. We forget to congratulate that friend on a big promotion, forget about important events like birthdays and anniversaries and somehow only manage to keep in touch when something is not going well for us.
The quest to finding oneself, often leads to breakups with our dear friends.
For a lot of us, “finding” oneself is something that has become increasingly important, more so, after Julia Roberts did it in Eat, Pray, Love. In the process of finding oneself, we begin to associate ourselves to different ideologies. Very often, these ideologies are seen as bizarre by these people we call our friends or they just simply cannot relate to them. Very often, this is something that causes friends to drift apart, they are just not on the same wavelength anymore.
Perseverance. Big word, yes. But I strongly believe, some friendships make it through the test of time and weeks of not speaking because one person won’t give up.
Because one friend is holding on for dear life and consistently makes the effort, even if he/she is shot down every now and then. While we can’t choose our family, we can choose our friends. In my twenty’s, I wonder how much of a blessing that is. While I have friends who would give up anything for me, who will give me the last fry or the last sip of that beer. There are some I can’t help but feel absolutely miserable about, that even though there is nothing more I could have done to hold on to this friend, she still decided she was a “different person” now.
In this fast paced life, we have all become so busy, chasing our tail that we forgot the importance of our relationships with our friends. While some you lost on the way, there are some you know you want to hold on to. So make that effort, no matter how difficult or complex.
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