On friends

In my apartment there are photos everywhere. On my bookshelf, in front of the TV, on my fridge. The majority of them are in the same frames they’ve been in since college, carted from dorm room to apartment to my parents’ house and now to my own place.

For the most part I haven’t given them much thought. But then, last night, I realized something. The majority of the people in those photos are people I never see. In some cases, they’re not even considered friends these days. Not due to any particular falling out, just time and distance.

It’s a bit stunning to look around and realize the faces staring back at you aren’t in your life anymore. At least not on any meaningful level.

What’s even more thought-provoking is that the group of people who I do consider friends today — who aren’t represented in the photos lining my apartment — is a much smaller group than illustrated in all these snapshots of the past.

I think it’s something we all struggling with in our 20s. It’s a time of transition. Long gone are the days of being able to knock on your dorm neighbor’s door and find an immediate friend. There aren’t classes and clubs and side jobs that are just a conduit to your next BFF.

Instead, there’s distance as you go your separate ways to follow your dreams. And work schedules that prevent you from having any social interaction during the work day with the coworkers that have become your best friends in — and out — of work. After all, the office has become your new dorm, but with more responsibility and less time for bullshitting. Co-workers have become the people you’re spending all your time with, going through highs and lows and everything in between.

One of my best friends is someone I met at work and we bonded over bad break-ups several years ago. We spent 10 days touring Italy together. And yet, we’re both so busy with work and life that we rarely see each other these days.  

Because now, it’s not just distance that changes relationships, it’s the new priorities that growing up brings: boyfriends who turn into husbands. Babies. One of the few people I’m still close to from college lives three hours away. She’s been married for a couple years and just got pregnant.

New priorities.

The distance had already taken its toll on our relationship, but marriage and kids insert a whole different  layer. It’s not that I’m unhappy about the different routes our lives have taken, but I miss my friend. It’s not that we’re not friends anymore, but it’s a different friendship.

Everything’s different.

Sure, on Sex and the City they all have fabulous lives and fabulous careers and somehow still have plenty of time to get together and gossip about sex toys and the latest fashion. In real life, those prime opportunities come around rarely. Which is sad, because we need those friend connections more than anything. Yet once we are thrust into adulthood, it gets harder and harder to find and keep them. I don’t know if it’s that we lose our ability to make friends, or we lose that opportunities to find friends.

Whatever it is, the friend gap is becoming more and more apparent as the years go on.

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4 Comments

Filed under rambling nature, relationships, Uncategorized

4 responses to “On friends

  1. You know I agree with this wholeheartedly. Here’s to trying to keep those gaps closed and our quality friends close…

  2. Oh how telling & true. Lately, I find myself saying more and more that life (including friendships) is fluid. Constantly moving. Constantly changing. And it is our job to either adapt to these new circumstances (figure out ways to keep friendships despite the fact you are at different stages of our lives) or find new friends (who are at a similar stage in life as you). What I’ve discovered over the years is sometimes it’s easier to make new friends, but it’s equally important to maintain some of (though not all of) the old ones. Welcome to adulthood.

  3. i think we all struggle with this. The good friendships, you’ll realize, don’t need constant nurturing. They’re just natural. You can go months with seeing each other or talking but picking things up when you finally do? Just feels natural. Those are the friends worth keeping. Friends who make zero effort? Friends who you realize are stuck in the past? They’ll go to the wayside and not because of hatred, or something inherently wrong with the friendship but the evolution of us – growing up. moving on. It’s sad, but it’s so true. One girl who three years ago i would have told you would have been in my bridal party? Isn’t even invited because i haven’t talked to her in a year and when i did? It was like she was still stuck in college party mode…my life has moved on, and while she’s still a great person, brilliant really, we’re just in different places. There’s nothing wrong with that. But unfortunately, that doesn’t make it any less depressing. ❤

  4. I also feel your pain. In college, I was in a sorority – while you’re in it, you have this feeling of “sisters for life.” You go through all these things together and you really feel like these girls will be your best friends for the rest of your life. And then you graduate and everyone moves on and you lose that feeling of closeness.

    At first, I felt hurt – like no one had the time for maintaining these friendships that supposedly meant so much. I was quite jaded. And then over a bit of time, I realized that yeah, we do all have our own lives. Recently, our smaller group of friends within the sorority has started getting together once a month. One girl organizes a get-together and it gives us an opportunity to catch up on what’s going on and who’s doing what.

    You definitely find out who you (and they) are willing to make the effort for.

    BTW, I’m a new reader and totally sucked in! 🙂

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