Friendcycle: Navigating Grownup Friendships.

There comes a time when people who have been in your life for years simply no longer have a place. It’s a passage of time. A growing older. A realization that what we once had in common has been replaced with an illusion that isn’t worth it anymore to maintain. We change, we grow apart, and perhaps we stay only because neither one of us knows how to say goodbye. Sigh. Unfortunately, it is not just a somewhat melancholy piece of prose that fits perfectly in the facebook status box. It’s a real struggle.

“Everyone comes into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime.”

I am a people person. I have a huge variety of people I am friends with. Really, there are few that I think I could absolutely not manage to spend at least the time of a conversation with. Anyone who has spent any amount of time with me in real life will know that I can talk your ear off. I have  many interests and being social is a big part of my life. I was not cut out to be a hermit. Needless to say, saying goodbye is hard for me.

I have layers, like an onion. I am pretty sure most people do. The ones that know me the best and have been there through the thick and thin are my inner circle. Different circumstances have drawn us together. Life, love, school, childhood and disaster made us strong. As the circles spiral outward, friends span out into acquaintances.

To use social media as an example, I can look at my friends list and see friends from preschool to grad school. Co-workers. Professors. Pastors. Former Roommates. Family. Friends. Frenemys. A couple crushes. An ex-boyfriend. A few mysteries.  All of us have been brought together somehow. Some, I have never met in person. Others have known me my entire life. All mean something to me.

That being said, sometimes friends, no matter how much we love them, aren’t meant to be forever. It is hard to accept sometimes. I latch on. I want to remember the good times with the person I first became friends with. I want to remember the person who, at that time in my life, was a gift to me. I want to remember the good qualities when they are harder to see now. I want to hold on to who someone used to be instead of who they ultimately became. It is hard to let go. It is hard to accept change when it is no longer for the better. Everyone leaves a mark on you if you let them in close enough.  Sometimes that mark is strong enough that we refuse to accept that something has changed. Maybe it is an unequal relationship. A giver who is always the giver. A taker who only uses, never gives. Maybe it’s personality. Maybe it’s life choices. Regardless, when it becomes painfully obvious that you are just existing in a friendship instead of participating in it, something has to change. Maybe it means a heart-to-heart. Maybe it means this person is drifting out of your life so someone can drift in. It is a transition and dang it, I don’t like change!! Yet, change is imperative for us to move forward.

The truth of the matter is, people fluctuate in your life. Sometimes you need to lean on them, other times they lean on you and sometimes, sometimes you get to just be friends and support each other equally. Friendship, like any relationship, is work. Everyone involved has to be actually involved in it. You cannot, no matter how hard you try, be the only person in a healthy friendship. You can drift. I have friends that I can not talk to for months but we can pick it up where we left off. It is a mutual understanding that we are always there if needed. Not everyone is like that and not every friendship has that option.

Why is it so hard to say goodbye, though? In a world of hyper-awareness of everyone’s business and constant connectedness, you would think we would be all closer. But no. We have simply used technology as a way to keep tabs. We can celebrate, anguish with and catch up with someone without saying a word to them. In our desire to have friendships based in technology, we have, in fact, isolated ourselves even more. We have substituted technology for human relationship building. If not through our phones that can do ALMOST anything (including turn on the car!) then by “old-school” computer access, work/school/church/club social networks, social media platforms. We are constantly bombarded by status updates and emails, texts and gossip–even rambling blog posts and photo essays of “Last Weekend’s Shenanigans.” I sometimes think we are losing our human touch. It makes me sad but I am guilty of it too.

Life goes on. New friends await, old friends are still there and who knows what the future might hold? The friendcycle continues.

All I can say is, I raise my glass to the memories. The good times, the fights, the heartbreak, the frustration, the good relationships and the horrible–all of it. I raise my glass because without those people, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. For better or worse. We may not be friends anymore but I wish you well. I want you to be happy.



How do you deal with transition in friendships? What makes a good friend? How do you know when your friendship has moved on to better pastures? Let me know in the comments! Thanks lovelies. 

2 Responses to “Friendcycle: Navigating Grownup Friendships.”
  1. Anne says:

    I went through a similar transition when I got married and had a baby. Some friends just weren’t in the same place as I and we no longer had common interests and priorities. I allowed some friends to drift away. I remember the good times with those girls fondly, and I actually believe that if I were to pick up the phone and call them, we could be friends again. I know I hurt some feelings by allowing the friendship to die. But I know it was for the best. It’s more painful and frustrating to hold on to a friendship that just isn’t working anymore. I’m rambling…I understand.

  2. Asia S says:

    So true, all of it. I’m stealing this link so that I can read and re-read this until the pain of loosing someone fought for is a distant not so bothersome pang. Maybe work out a goodbye letter or leave it alone. Dunno yet. But I’m positive you’re words can and will help. Thanks for being a friend. I’m quite clingy too.

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