Good friends are like stars. You might not always see them, but you know they’re always there.
As an adult, I have lived in several different cities. Each move has seen me leave friends behind. Each move has seen me make new friends.
I have a handful of friendships that have survived the moves.
I am a gregarious, (mostly) outgoing person. My life is always full of casual friends and acquaintances. It is unusual for me to go to any kind of gathering and know no one. However tenuous the link, there will almost always be someone that I have met before, or that I have some connection to. Within weeks of moving to the US, this was already true.
There is however a huge difference between this easy going ability to chat and connect, and actually making friends. And I mean proper, call in a crisis, dump your kids with in an emergency, laugh and cry with, friends.
That bit, I’m not very good at.
I am also, to be honest, a fairly independent soul and I enjoy my own company.
I sometimes wonder if it was all easier pre-children; when a spontaneous drink after work was a possibility and an impromptu meeting required no co-ordination of child care. Easier to make friends? Easier to develop friendships beyond the superficial? Easier to maintain those friendships?
Or perhaps the dynamics of our friendships constantly evolve to match the stage of our lives?
I am lucky to have a few wonderful friends who I can go for weeks/months without seeing and pick up where I left off. Sadly we currently live not just in different cities, but different countries.
I will admit to having days where I feel very disconnected.
But, I’m not a great one for the phone. I prefer face to face. But, I’m also not great at setting aside time to Skype or FaceTime!
Life, children and a time difference always seem to get in the way – or at least that’s my excuse.
In all honesty, I am simply rubbish at keeping in touch.
It doesn’t mean that I don’t care, that I don’t think of my friends all the time, that I don’t worry about them, that I don’t miss them – because I do.
I am just awful, and lazy, about keeping in touch.
Yesterday I got an email that really brought home to me how far away I am. A friend could do with a friend – an old friend that really knows her, has been there all along, that has history – and I wish I could be there, but I can’t, not in a truly useful way. Emails and texts provide some comfort and support, but it’s not the same as a hug and a large glass of wine.
But, is that just the way of this modern world? The constant need to make new friends and connections coupled with the difficulties and, if we’re honest, hard work required to keep in touch with the old?
This world where we don’t stay in one place. This world that in some ways is so small, hop on a plane and you’re half a world away, but is still huge if you just want to see that one friend who knows you best?
I hope that, however far apart we might be, my friends do know that I am there. That if it came to it, I would drop everything if they asked. That I value their friendships hugely.
One of these friends sent me a message recently, a little graphic with the words ‘I’m rotten at keeping in touch, but I miss you very much’.
I wonder if, maybe, we are all just a bit hard on ourselves?
Do you think that the nature of friendships change as we get older, have children, move home/city/country? Or, are some of us just better at the day to day keeping in touch?
I’m linking this post up to #PoCoLo from Verily, Victoria Vocalises.