I’ve written before about the girl gang and friendships, and how difficult it is to make or keep friends as we get older. Most people I speak to find themselves in a similar situation, in that, as they get older they tend to have less vis a vis contact with close friends on a weekly basis, but the contact they do have is quality time and usually enough to get them through until the next girly get-together or weekend of mischief.
We start to see each other for Hen/Bachelorette weekends, monumental birthdays, (who’s closer to 40 than 30?? Not me, nope, not at all!!) weddings, christenings, summer barbecues, kids birthdays, funerals, unfortunately….and then maybe to get together for a good cry over an illness, separation or divorce.
We get caught up in our own lives with our own families, responsibilities and jobs that we maybe don’t speak as much as we did when we were young and free. Our lives change so much in such short spaces of time that often we get a bit lost from each other.
It’s only natural that we don’t know all the ins and out of our friends’ lives but we rest assured in our knowledge that if a friend needed something then they know we’d be there in a heartbeat. We think it, say it to each other when we part ways; it’s an unspoken agreement between us, and we sincerely mean it. But, how often do you hear second hand or later about something that happened to a close friend then feel guilty for not making more of an effort? How easy is it to drop everything these days to go to a friend in need?
I live in France now but have friends all over the shop. I always tell them that I’m “only a phone call away” and hope that if they were going through something they think I could help with they’d call or text me and we’d work it out. I believe I’m a good friend; that I’m a fairly good sounding board to vent to, but I also know I’m not as accessible as I’d need to be if a friend wanted to meet for a coffee and a chat. (With the exceptions of friends here, or when I was in Lyon.)
When we were younger and something happened to one of the gang, we’d all get dolled up and go out on the town to let off some stream, go to the pub or get together at someones house with a (several) bottle(s) of wine and chat til the wee hours of the morning, wake up with a hangover around noon then head to McD’s for a big breakfast. For the most part now, in our mid-to late 30’s, with kids of our own, husbands, partners, and juggling to contend with, even if we are in the same city, I’m not sure that’s how we get together anymore.
So where does that leave us? Well, we just have to hope that our friends reach out when they need us, try to stay in touch and fill us in with their lives when they can, support us from afar, trust us and stay loyal even when we don’t connect on the regular anymore.
I spoke to an old friend the other day about a zillion different topics, one of which was friendship and letting go. The conversation got me thinking about how to be a good friend, even from afar, how our relationships with friends change and evolve over time, as we ourselves evolve and change, and how we know if we are being a good friend or a toxic one. Are we doing enough to support our friends even if we don’t see them as often? Maybe you’re going through something yourself and wish you could reach out to a friend to share your burden, but don’t want to bother them?
I’d be interested to know your thoughts…