A discovery this week has left me wondering about the life span of friendships. An old friend I had unknowingly drifted away from recently popped up on good ol’ Facebook and I was a little surprised by what I saw. So much has changed in the 5 short years since we had regular contact with each other I wasn’t even completely sure it was her. I was rattled by the fact that it had been so long since we had spoken and I had not even noticed.
Although we are not “Facebook Friends”, I was able to see enough of her profile to know that she had recently remarried, and she also writes her own blog. So being the stalker that I am, rather than send her a message, I checked out her blog page to try and catch up on the time we had missed. I felt so sneaky. This woman was not just a passing acquaintance, she was one of my bridesmaids! My husband had been in the bridal party for her first wedding, we had lived at their house while work was being done on our home, we visiting her in hospital just hours after she gave birth to her daughter. How can someone who had been such a massive part of your life just fall by the wayside?
I remember reading somewhere that you have many different friends to serve different needs. Some friends are for a reason, some for a season and if you are lucky, some are for life. When I look at past and present friendships I can see that this is true. I would say that I only have a very small number of lifetime friends, ones that I can go for months or even years without contacting, but I know that I only ever need to pick up the phone and it would be as if we spoke yesterday. I have never had to work at these friendships to keep them, we are there when we need each other, and busy living our own lives when we don’t.
Other lifelong friends I see on a weekly basis, if not more and somehow we never feel suffocated. These friends share the tedious and the mundane along with the life changing moments. I know what they are having for dinner tonight, how the toilet training is progressing, the ups and downs of their building a new home. These friends are an extension of our own lives, ones that make our day-to-day seem fuller.
I think the reason I struggle with the lifespan of this particular friendship is the fact that it had all the hallmarks of a lifer. I took for granted that we would always find each other when we needed it, there was no need to force the connection. Am I really that fickle? Have I turned my back on people who deserved more? And if I have, how many friends have I lost over the years without even noticing?Or is it my sub-conscious ensuring that I don’t continue to invest in friendships that no longer bring either of us joy? Life is hectic enough trying to make time for the people who are important to you without worrying about those that are not as significant.
Right now I am still undecided as to whether I should try and reconnect with this old friend or if I am best to accept that our friendship has served its purpose and leave it in the past. I feel that I may very well have gone another 5 years without contact had I not stumbled across her and that may be an indicator that we have both happily moved onto new phases in our lives. If I have learned anything from this its that I should be more appreciative of the people in my life no matter what purpose we are for each other. Regardless of how fleeting some friendships may be, there is a reason we have become part of each others lives and we need to make the most of it while it lasts.