Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A perspective on friends

The other day, I found out that my best friend M, that lives in CA, is coming to NC the weekend of my Birthday and I am beyond thrilled (one more thing to adding to my hurry up and get here list).  I am so excited that she's going to come to our home and visit us, it's a first.  It got me thinking about friendships and traveling.  I'll give you a little background at first. 

I come from a small city in Upstate NY (like really far - I can see Canada - Upstate) and moved to Western NY for college.  I kept up with my best friend from high school throughout college as she was only 20 minutes away, but it wasn't the easiest friendship to keep up with.  In the later years, I went to visit her at her school more frequently, and I became friends with some of her friends (girls) as well.  I don't want to go into what happened, so I'll call it somewhat of a falling out ensued, and put more strain on my relationship with my high school friend.  

Most of my friends at my college were boys (except for M).  (Side note:  M and I had numerous discussions about how hard it was to meet 'girls' at our school to be friends.  We sometimes felt like the two most 'normal' girls in our classes.  This might sound weird to you but in our major we were 2 of the 6 girls in a class of 125 that graduated together, so we were surrounded by few girls to begin with.)

Following graduation KC and I moved to NC, M moved to CA and the others stayed in the North East (NE).  The guys I hung out with scattered and I only stayed friends with one.  That one guy has since moved and fallen off of the face of the planet.  I talked with most of the girls every 1-2 months.  Lately it's dwindled down to less (and sometimes just an email).  M and I talk(ed) as frequently as possible, sometimes weekly, sometimes, monthly, depends on the situation, what's going on in our lives, but nothing has changed in our friendship over the years (heck we went 3 years without seeing one another after graduation).  The frequency does not impact us at all and that is something I continue to cherish. 

With M's impending visit, it got me thinking:  What happened to my (other) old friends?  Why is it so hard to meet new (local) friends?  When did friendships change?  

I feel like getting married really changed things for our (mostly single) friends here.  When we were just dating it wasn't a big deal but being married we don't see things the same way as them anymore.  We have different goals and ideas.  I find it hard to make new friends sometimes, I don't have that out-going personality, but that's for another post.  The other girls graduated as well, got jobs and some are married themselves.  Everyone has a different life now.

I've lived here for a couple of years and our visitors have been limited to family, 1 college friend, local friends and now M.  I was really shocked when I realized this.  First, I got upset that people didn't visit, or make the effort to see us.  I can't say that we 100% go visit them but every time we are in the NE we make and effort to connect with them on some level.  Then I realized that me being upset is really not justified, it's simply me being selfish.  We all have (different) lives to live and vacations to take and things to do.  Friendships change and evolve over time.  

I used this quote in my senior profile for my high school yearbook and I think it puts things into perspective:
“We all take different paths in life,
  but no matter where we go,
  we take a little of each other everywhere.”
~ Tim McGraw

This really puts things into perspective for me.  At some point in my life I knew someone and somewhere down the road our paths diverged, and it's probably nothing either of us did.  But I will always carry those friendships with me.  There are pieces of those times that made me who I am today.  I will still do whatever I can to make it work and do whatever I can to see these people and continue a relationship with them.  If they need something, then I am there however I can be.  If they return later on then, that's a gift to me. 
"A friend is a gift you give yourself."
~Robert Louis Stevenson

For now, I'll give my current friendships my all.  Do whatever I can to make them ever-lasting and appreciate every last one of them. 

I'm sure I'm not the only one who's had friendships that change over the course of time.  Were you surprised at how friendships changed after high school? college? marriage?


  1. Wow, I could have written this post myself. I had a very hard time after college because I moved back home and didn't have very many friends nearby. I slowly lost touch with the majority of my high school and college friends and I had no idea how difficult it would be to struggle with that. It's hard to find friends that are in a similar place in their lives so you can relate to each other. I wish that I could put such a positive spin on it like you do, but it's hard sometimes. But I agree to do what you can to reach out and try to maintain a friendship because a true friend should be appreciated!

  2. I love this post, and find that a lot of ladies our age are struggling with this!! It is hard, you think that your best friends are the girls that will be with you forever...but your lives change, and not always at the same rate. And sometimes, that causes huge divides. My MOH hasn't spoken to me in a year...she hates that I am married now and have a career and a billion obligations. We are just in such different places in our lives and can't relate to each other anymore...we tried to hang for so long as we grew more and more distant. The. worst. breakup. ever.

    You have to try to maintain those friendships, but some of them are meant to only be around for a specific season in your life, I think.

  3. I have been meaning to comment on this for a few days (loved this post!):

    I have had the same problems! Even some of my bridesmaids and I have parted ways just a year after the wedding. It's not that we have a falling out I think it's more that we aren't as compatible and in a busy life where things get cut, friendships that don't work can be lost. I have never been stellar at the female friend side of things because I hate talking on the phone and would rather drink wine while watching DVR'd shows then go out.

    I know I sound thrilling - But my husband and I dated for so long before we got married that we kind of grew up together and our friends became the same as well (mostly his).

    Good luck with the visitors aspect. We are from 2 hours away and bribe friends with football tickets and we still have trouble getting visitors.

    Friends are tricky, I guess that's why we should treasure the ones that seem to last.


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