The truth about friendship

As a child, I would hear people talking about friendships dwindling into adulthood. It seemed ridiculous. Of course I’d keep in touch with my friends. Every friendship was important to me so why wouldn’t I? And to an extent, I did.

Not so many years ago, I had a group of friends I’d see every now and then. There were others I’d keep in touch with – a phone call here and an occasional meet up there. At Christmas, we’d send a card or buy a gift. When we got together, it was like we’d never been apart. The laughter flowed and we talked about old times and new.

The truth about friendship

The friend who fell by the wayside

I never really had a best friend as a child. I’d drift between groups and strike up friendships, some of which have stood the test of time. But during the last year of high school, all that changed. For maybe 12 months, I experienced what it was like to have a best friend. It was a long time ago now, and I forget why exactly we got on so well. But what I remember above all else is the laughter. We shared a similar sense of humour and we’d giggle until our faces ached. She made the last year of school so much more fun.

And when we went our separate ways for university, I assumed she’d always be in my life. And then, for a reason that I still don’t understand nearly 20 years later, it stopped. Just a few months after starting university, I phoned her to arrange a get-together in the Christmas holidays. It had been several months since we’d seen each other and there had always been a reason why she couldn’t make it. But this time, I finally realised she just didn’t want to.

I was sad for the friendship I thought I had, but I knew it was time to move on. Even now, I sometimes wonder how she is, but most of all I hope that I will never be that friend. I hope my chaotic life never makes anyone feel that I no longer value their friendship.

The truth about friendship

Absent friends

The truth is, I don’t see many of my friends anymore. The pace of life has increased exponentially over the past few years and I can’t remember the last time I picked up the phone to a friend. In the past, I’d send birthday cards and Christmas gifts. I’d make the effort to go and see people wherever they were, even on the other side of the world.

But then, life happened. Marriage, babies, toddlers, work, sport, sleep (occasionally), pets, accidents. And little by little, I stopped getting in touch. Stopped sending cards, going to get-togethers and talking on the phone. And now, it almost seems as though the moment has passed. Just like I did all those years ago, everyone has moved on with their lives. Lives that I’m no longer a part of.

The truth about friendship

It’s not you, it’s me

So to the people I’ve neglected, I’m sorry. The cards and gifts may have stopped, but the thoughts of you haven’t. I don’t see you, message you or pick up the phone. The truth is after all this time, I don’t think I know how. But I want you to know that I wasn’t that person. I might be the friend who fell by the wayside, but I didn’t make a decision to let you go. And if ever you decide to pick up the phone, I’ll be just as pleased to hear from you as I always was.

The truth about friendship

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14 Comments

  1. April 12, 2017 / 7:56 am

    What a beautiful post and I can certainly relate – I bet most parents can. I have 5 friends from school and 1 from uni I stayed in touch with into adulthood, but after I had kids, we gradually stayed in touch less and less. I still send them Xmas cards, although 3 of them don’t send them back because they don’t do Xmas cards. I used to send birthday cards to them and their kids, but I started forgetting the dates of their kids’ birthdays. Now I only see 2 of my friends every few months. It’s been a gradual change over many years. I’m pleased to say none of us have just decided suddenly to sever ties. That must have been a shock when your friend did that. I know I would find it upsetting and wonder why if I was in your position.
    Sarah MumofThree World recently posted…Daughter’s first solo ParkrunMy Profile

  2. April 12, 2017 / 8:43 am

    You have my empathy. I had a similar experience when one of my closest friends went overseas for a year and when they came back it was like the connection between us was gone. Friend’s kids going to school was another sore point when it became apparent that they were besties while they needed somewhere to entertain their kids (my house was like a play group) but not one of them wanted to meet up again after their kids started school, even during the holidays which was upsetting for my kids. Makes you doubt yourself.
    Marianne Hopwood recently posted…Making memories with a Cheerz photo boxMy Profile

  3. April 12, 2017 / 9:09 am

    What a beautifully written post. Unfortunately I’m that lazy friend who always waits for others to get in touch, but never does themselves. I often find that friendships are fleeting so long ago I simply gave up trying. While it’s easy, it’s great. But throw any kind of distance into the mix and I just don’t invest as much as I should. I’m the man who complains I never win the lottery, yet never buy a ticket. It’s the same with friendships.
    Papa Tont recently posted…Are Online Friends And Friendships Real?My Profile

  4. April 12, 2017 / 9:10 am

    It’s so easy to do. When life just becomes a bit much it’s easy to forget about the people who are outside your 4 walls.

    We have a whatsapp group for my uni girls so it’s easy to keep in touch. There’s always someone to open a conversation. But I can go for ages without talking to lots of others. And time just goes quicker than I thought most of the time, thinking someone text you yesterday but it was actually 2 weeks ago etc.
    Nat | UEM recently posted…Camp Wilderness Family Day : ReviewMy Profile

  5. April 12, 2017 / 9:34 am

    I feel as though you’ve just written my life here.This is exactly how I feel.My best friend all throughout school not long ago removed me as a Facebook friend recently after not seeing her for a long time and although it sounds pathetic it felt like a total end,no going back kind of thing.I have work colleagues and Mum’s I say ‘hi’ to at school and of course all the blogging nutters to chat to but apart from that I actually have no friends. X

  6. April 12, 2017 / 9:49 am

    This is my life. I’m just the same I don’t know how to pick up that phone anymore or send that random message. I don’t have that 1 person I can phone no matter what, that I hear so many people talk about. The last couple of years my life changed and I don’t know if it will ever be the same again x
    Laura – dear bear and beany recently posted…A Day In The Life Of…Grumpy MumMy Profile

  7. April 12, 2017 / 3:28 pm

    Definitely, something I can relate to – especially now we’ve moved away. Last year I had no choice to miss the wedding of my best friend, who I have literally known all my life (our parents used to live together before we were born) because of various things getting in the way. It’s sad, but I think it happens to most of us x

  8. April 12, 2017 / 7:14 pm

    I think I have a fair share of every type of friendship you describe. Friends are so important to me but I constantly feel guilty for neglecting some. The truth is, you can only really concentrate on a certain number of people at any one time. Sounds harsh but I think it’s the reality of life with kids and all the busyness that goes with it. I have had friends who just stopped contacting me and as you say, actually cut me out of their lives. I will always wonder why and I still have a sense of sadness about each one. But my motto is to concentrate on the people around me who do value my friendship, of which there are many I’m thankful to say. Wish we lived closer, I would love to meet up. xx
    Suzanne recently posted…The Perfect Holiday – Does it Exist? My Profile

  9. April 12, 2017 / 10:14 pm

    Beautiful post Nat. I have written a post about friendships in the past, and I am currently struggling with friends at the moment. I always thought that by the time I hit my 30’s I would have my strong circle of friends and it would be easy – but its not, in fact I find it harder than ever. xxx

  10. April 13, 2017 / 8:15 pm

    I can relate to this so much. It is sad that this happens. My friend was a friend from primary school and we even remained friends throughout uni – but as you say I finally got the message that our friendship had been out-grown. Least you have some great new friends now 🙂
    pinkoddy recently posted…Child Safety and the InternetMy Profile

  11. April 14, 2017 / 12:52 pm

    I can certainly relate to this. It is so sad when friendships fall by the wayside – especially when our friends move on unexpectedly. I am guilty of not keeping in touch with my friends as much as I would like and then feeling like I’ve left it too long to get back in touch. It isn’t that I’ve stopped thinking of them, or no longer want to stay in touch – just that life gets so busy and time passes more quickly than I realise sometimes. It is wonderful though when you do get back in touch and catch up and it feels like no time has passed at all.

  12. April 15, 2017 / 12:53 pm

    I reckon it’s never too late, Nat. If you reach out to the friends who’ve drifted away, even if they don’t reciprocate, it will be a nice gesture that will make them happy. I have people who’ve moved away from me – metaphorically and literally – and it makes me sad sometimes. I try to focus on what I have, here and now. It usually helps. x

  13. April 17, 2017 / 3:24 pm

    I felt this one, and it’s obviously something so many of us can relate to. I noticed it began when I had children, but also as life in general has got busier with full-time work and (trying!) to manage a house, it’s so hard to carve out time for friendships. In a way I’m lucky as the moment as my group of friends are all experiencing the same thing so there is understanding there where there wasn’t in previous friendships. It also helps that the husbands are all friends too, so making time together is marginally easier. But we can still go months without catching up, and we all live in the same town! I have to work hard to keep things going, and sometimes that’s easier said than done.

  14. April 19, 2017 / 8:22 pm

    Gosh I can so relate to this on so many levels. Friendships are so hard after children aren’t they? And there are some that seem to just drift apart and you’re not sure what happened. There are still people I miss. Great post x

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