Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Evolution of Friendships

Friendships are funny things.  They are constantly changing and adapting throughout one's life and they're unpredictable.  For some friends, one day you're in, the next day, you're out (Project Runway style).  For other friends, it's a lifelong commitment to staying together, weathering storms and supporting each other through life's ups and downs. 

Lately I've been thinking about my life and the friendships I've built along the way.  I have managed to make some amazing friends with great people with whom I share a common vision, and I'm extraordinarily grateful for those people's presence in my life.  They make me feel good, and we have a strong two-way bond that never leaves me questioning whether or not they'll be there for me if shit goes down.

I've struggled recently with justifying maintaining certain friendships that alway seem one-sided and suck the soul out of me at every turn.  Those aren't healthy friendships and I know it.  You should never dread talking to a friend, and while this doesn't happen to me frequently, I admit to having felt that way at certain times.  Am I a bad friend or have we just grown apart?  I reeeaally don't want to overthink it, but I'm my own worst enemy that way.  I never want to be a bad friend, and I don't know that these people think they're being bad friends.  Sometimes the lack of open communication just perpetuates the problem.

I've learned that friendships change over time, and while some friendships are long-term, others are short-term, and that's okay.  Different friendships serve different purposes.  I personally love my long-term friendships the most, but they can also be the most trying.  Conversely, some of my friendships from recent years have been incredible, and I'm so, so, so grateful for them.  They've also been relatively easy to maintain, though I'm not sure if they will stay that way forever.

I have one great longtime friend who doesn't call me much, but I care about her tremendously and think of her often.  I always hope she's doing okay, but since I don't hear from her unless I contact her first, I struggle to know whether or not she wants to remain friends.  I'm giving that one space and hoping that the answer will become clear in time.  If she's reading this, I hope she knows who she is and realizes that I want nothing more than to give her a great, big hug and tell her how much I miss her.

Another one of my girlfriends neared best friend status at one point my life, but after she had a baby, I practically never heard from her again.  She only wanted to spend time with other mothers and their babies, and she had no time for her single, baby-less pals.  I had a hard time reconciling this, but I decided not to torture myself.  Instead, I vowed to never be that kind of friend to others, the kind that falls off the planet once they get married or have a baby.  And so far I've been successful with that and I'm making it a priority.

Part of me has always avoided the hard conversations with certain friends because the thought of losing friends scared the bejeezus me.  But I got to thinking, I'm not losing out on much if all the person causes me is heartache and stress.  In fact, saying goodbye to those onetime friends might actually be a relief.  But the thought is still really hard on me, and it hasn't gotten easier over the years.

Going forward, I want to rid myself of the toxic, one-sided friendships and maintain the friendships where both parties give a damn.  I've effectively cut ties with one friend from high school who got mad at me for losing weight for my wedding.  Seriously, like I was a "sell out" for not wanting to be a fat(ter) bride.  I definitely don't need friends like that. 

I'm all for having relationships of mutual encouragement, laughter and kind gestures because I deserve it and so do you.  Love yourself enough to ditch the haters and focus on the friends who make a difference in your life.  We can all take a big sigh of relief when we've done that, and I'm starting now.


Brandy said...

I just did a post on friendships recently b/c I was having all these same feelings! It's so frustrating to have friends that you always seem to have to reach out to--they never reach out to you.

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