During the last moon cycle while I have been musing on what friendship means to me. I found myself thinking about friendships past and present and what they mean to me.
I have had few people over the years that I would class as really close friends and most of them have faded as life has brought different influences and priorities into our lives. When I was younger I used to think that a true close friend was one that would be there for you no matter what and you would do the same for them. Looking back I now think it was a very demanding view of friendship, a black and white view that was not really very realistic.
I have moved around a fair amount over the years especially when I was younger and this has put strains on friendships that has always led to me loosing touch with individuals that once meant a great deal to me. Now I look back at memories of times with them with fondness but no aching desire to find them again. I’ve moved on and changed and I know they will have done as well.
I’ve come to accept that the reality of life is that friendships are often pulled apart by circumstances. In my experience it’s very hard to maintain a close friendship with someone living in a different area for example, even being in different areas of the same city can put strain on friendships. Parenthood can also pull friendships apart if one of you has kids and the other doesn’t.
I have come to think that you need a strong thread of commonality to first make and then build up a friendship and if something happens to thin or break that thread the friendship often suffers. Sometimes you struggle to maintain it but in the end in my experience you sometimes have to accept that you have both moved on.
I’m not as demanding of my friendships as I used to be but then neither can I offer as much in return. My priorities have changed and while I do still want and need people outside my family to talk to and share things with I am more accepting and appreciating of more fleeting connections than perhaps I was. I’m also more appreciative on online distance friendships. I don’t feel I have the time or energy to devote to building and maintaining strong close friendships that meet face to face and talk frequently and regularly. Some of the people I connect with online are incredibly supportive and sharing of good times and bad in their lives and in mine. I value those connections even as I acknowledge that there may be times when I am unable to respond as I might wish to my perception of their need for a response. I am now more understanding of the reality that there will be times when they are unable to respond to me. Sometimes just knowing my words are released from my mind in either speech or writing can be enough.
I am now taking the long slow road to friendships and hope that some longer term friendships may come while accepting that they may not.