Friends. What happened?
Welcome to the blog series about friendships and meaningful connections that do not last and evolve to a different meaning overtime. Perhaps you signed up for this series because you are a current friend seeking to stay ahead of the "tides of change" as priorities (cue on the baby crying) are getting in the way of phone time and travel OR you are a friend realizing the relationship quality of your long time (former) friends of 10, 20, 30+ years is...different.
Friendships change because people change.
We are all evolving creatures and because we do not evolve at the same time, growing apart is an appropriate risk to state.
As we grow older, friendships look more like circles. Know your circle.
Think of your circle as a bullseye. Do you realize how small and precise it is? This is your inner circle 3 to 5 friends MAX. This group would be your confidants.
And now as you continue to read, please take out a sheet of paper (smile) and draw a small circle and write the name or names of these people in your bullseye. You can then draw wider circles around it and label within the different environments you are part of. Do you have anyone else labeled in those groups? Even if you have no one, we can work with that. No worries.
The key is having appropriate expectations of yourself and your friends. Knowing your circles help you shape expectations of what you can receive from others. Are you expecting inner circle loyalty and commitment when they may only consider themselves as an outer circle friend? Does someone want you to be an inner circle friend, but you only have the bandwidth to be a mid-circle friend?
Oh, and it’s perfectly normal to mourn the loss of closeness or be sad when your expectations aren’t realized. Remember: just because someone was a good friend for a season doesn’t mean that you’re no longer friends if the relationship drifts or changes. It just means that it’s different. Be thankful for that season and let it go. I PROMISE will address this part later in the month.
As you ponder on your friendship(s) current and past, ask yourself if you "put in the work." Yes, maintaining friendships becomes intentional as without effort, there is no momentum to still be able to bond over unique experiences and validate trust and connection.
Most importantly, the best way to find a friend is to know what you need in a friend. (we will get to this part as well) On that note, turn the page of your notebook and write a caption at the top that says: "Qualities I need in a friend." Next, make a list and keep it safe as we will come back to this later in the month.
As a self-proclaimed introvert, I must admit the two wealthiest ways to engage and maintain friendship is - social media and group chats. Yes, this new way to communicate and share has now fit in the place of trying to overcome the frustrations "to meet up for dinner..." Let's face it, there are too many logistics that get in the way, and then (whenever it does happens) there is never enough time to really catch up. Even if you are an introvert like myself...or maybe you don't have a social media at all, there is always an option to keep it to group chats OR create a profile with a fun name to connect with others as without a personal picture but avatar that expresses who you are.
There are options :)
So the reality is, unless you are next door neighbors, maintaining friendship are virtually led.
Before closing, I would like to impart a 3rd mini homework assignment. Choose 1-2 of the following prompts to journal about before next week.
All in all, you have 3 assignments:
"The bulls eye"
The quality need list
How much time do you spend a month with a friend?
How would you rate the quality of that time?
What do you appreciate about your friend?
Is there drama in your friendship?
What don’t you like about your friend?
Is the friendship balanced from a give-and-take perspective?
How could you be a better friend to them?
Do you feel happy during and after spending time together?
I would be so thrilled to see your commented responses to this article below! Feel free to share on your social media pages so others can get in on this reflective journey.