A thought for the week – friendship

Good friends are like stars. You might not always see them, but you know they’re always there.
Old saying

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?

[Two wonderful blogs got me thinking about my own friendships, Mum of Three World and Mummy Tries. Thank you ladies for your thought provoking posts.]

I’m linking this post up to #PoCoLo from Verily, Victoria Vocalises.

Post Comment Love

20 thoughts on “A thought for the week – friendship”

  1. It’s interesting you say you are awful and lazy at keeping in touch.

    I think we tend to do things that we find easy and put things off that we find hard. Often for me keeping is touch is hard. Do you know that feeling when you are corresponding and it feels a bit forced or you don’t know what to talk about? I think that’s to do with not having the cues of someone’s tone of voice or body language. That to me is the drawback of Facetime – the body language is not so natural so it feels not as good as meeting up. For me it’s much easier to arrange to meet someone for lunch or a drink, even if I am not so close to them. And I don’t think I am alone in feeling that.

    But putting all that aside, there are also friends that I have been closer to, who I can pick up with after a long time being apart.

    I think feeling that we “belong” in the world is one of our most fundamental needs and that this basic desire motivates us more than we realise. Friendship and our relationships with other people are a very complex part of that.

    I see friendship as parts of your life that are similar and you can share experiences. And if that shared experience touches you enough, then you want to nourish that good feeling by keeping in touch. That’s my analysis of it. But I appreciate there is more to it than that and such a short summary doesn’t do justice to such a complex topic. Also I think all our different experiences and upbringings make us feel or experience friendship in different ways and have different needs from it.

    I like it when you ask questions like this. It’s impossible to come up with an answer but it’s fun trying.

  2. I totally agree that the nature changes, however I think true friendships will survive anything. Like you I have “friends” all over the world but there are special friends, dear friends that it doesn’t matter how long you have been in touch they still love you. Unfortunately lives craziness run’s away with us all. I don’t think anyone could really stand up and stay they’re awesome at keeping in touch

  3. thereadingresidence

    I think life does have a way of running away with you, and before you know it, you’ve not checked in with so and so and then it’s been a while, so it you leave it again, and so on. I know I’m certainly guilty of that. Funnily enough, just this week I’ve got in touch with 3 friends, asking to catch up with them before we move into 2014, as I do care, I do want to see them, and I’m so pleased I’ve arranged those catch ups now.

  4. thereadingresidence

    I think life does run away with you, and we’re all guilty of that. Funnily enough, I’ve actually been in touch with 3 friends this week to arrange catch ups before Christmas, and I’m so looking forward to them now, and pleased I took a few minutes to text them.

  5. I think you just accept and appreciate friends however they may come into your life and continue to stay in touch in some form. Many of my best friends live in different cities, but we do our best to keep in touch and somehow pick up where we left off when we meet up. It has become more difficult with us all having children now, but we do what we can!

  6. I hear you-the older you get, the harder it is seems to be to form lasting relationships with others. It what puts me off moving, even though I’d love to try living in another country.

  7. A beautifully written, thought provoking post. I know what you mean, hun. I’m lucky to have the same friends that I went to school with and some newer additions whose friendship I truly value but I don’t always make the effort I should. I don’t like speaking on the phone either and often forget to return texts. I think some friends come and go but some are the ones you describe, who you can always rely on no matter what. It must be tough living so far away from the but they know you care and that’s what counts xx

  8. I have a few friends that I’ve had forever, we live miles apart and don’t see each other very often, but we are there for each other whenever needed without question. I have Mummy friends who have supported me since Monkey was born, some are local, some not now, but again we don’t live in each others pockets, but catch up when we can.
    I’m a bit hard of hearing so I never call anyone! My friends are used to it, I email and text, but life flies by and before you know it a month has gone by…… I think we are all the same these days

  9. It’s so tough keeping up with everyone once motherhood hits, I also have a lovely network of old and established friendships, but once kids come along and people start moving away from London it’s so hard to keep up with everyone. But the best friendships are the ones where you can always pick up where you left off, so that keeps me happy even if meetings in person are sporadic! Lovely post #PoCoLo

  10. I think friendships definitely change as you get older and start families. I don’t have many real life friends and those I do have I left behind when we moved so it is great to keep up to date with them through the wonder of the internet! I have made a lot of friends through blogging who have become true friends and for that I am very grateful.

  11. I know exactly what it is like..I have also moved countries a few times in my life and I am guilty of not being great at making Skype / real life time :-( every now and then I get my act together though and meet up with people! I love the quote about stars :-)

  12. Lovely post hon, and thank you very much for the mention :) I could have written a lot of it myself…

    As you’ve said, and pretty much everyone else that’s commented, life gets in the way but true friendship will stand the test. Because I’m a PA, and am usually so much more organised than my friends I always end up being social secretary. But this pregnancy has left my brain resembling swiss cheese at points, and I’ve joined everyone else in taking ages to reply to a text and never returning phone calls. It’s not that I don’t care, quite the opposite, but right now I just don’t have the capacity for the level of organising I usually have.

    It’s really not important though – I can go months and months without seeing some of my best friends, but it doesn’t matter. A handful of people who are very dear to me live in Australia, and I can go years without seeing them but not a single thing changes when I do. I count myself exceptionally fortunate to have the amazing friends in my life that I do. They have helped me through my darkest moments, and have been at my side during the happiest. Really do not know what I would do without them!

  13. Pingback: A thought for the week – friendship

  14. Sara I am exactly the same (although I’m probably not as good as you at the easy-going chit chat with people!). I find friendships quite difficult to navigate and struggle to keep in touch as much as I would like to. I think you are right that with people flung far and wide over the globe it is hard to be as ‘present’ in the friendship as it might once have been. Maybe we just need to re evaluate what the ‘normal’ is and like you say, stop being so hard on ourselves? I do hope your friend is OK and I am sure that just the knowledge you are there will be helping more than you could imagine xx

  15. It’s not easy keeping in touch with everyone when we all lead busy lives and live so far apart. I’ve always blamed some of those difficulties on the pressures of having kids & having to be so hands on in their lives hence using up all of my free time. I hope that this will improve now that they’ve left for uni.
    I hope your friend is OK & I’m certain that you’ve helped more than you realise x

  16. Hi, this post has really got me thinking. It does get harder to keep in constant contact with friends, especially now as life, work, swimming lessons, can make a week fly by. With my close knit group of friends we now book a date once a month where we all meet up and take in turns to cook and host at our houses. Some of us will see each other in that month, but that one date is for us all, and its something that we all look forward too. We get to catch up and eat nice food and all feel like we are making effort in keeping time for each other.

  17. I have friends that I haven’t seen for ages because one of us has moved but always find when we reconnect it’s as if not a day has passed. Usually with these friends we go through long patches without communication and then a flury of catch-ups. No matter what these old friendships stand the test of time. What I find hard, though, is when I’ve just started building a new friendship and then try to maintain it when we no longer live close by.

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