Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Evolution of Friendship

A couple of weeks ago, I saw this quote twice in one day:

During much of the time that I lived in New York, I had a group of friends that I had made during college. Fast forward about, oh, three years to the present day and I am minus several of those friends. I won't get into the whole story here, but suffice it to say I learned who my real friends were around a pretty significant event in my life.

Coming home to Maine was a decision my husband and I made because we were ready to settle down and feel more financially stable. What we didn't expect was that coming home to Maine would help us to examine some of our friendships and realize who was really worthy of our time.

In another post, I talked about how I think that sometimes New Yorkers are selfish out of necessity. When I look at those "friendships" that I've since lost, I realize that those people were selfish by nature and selfish out of necessity. I'm not saying they were mean on purpose (or at least some of them weren't) or that their selfishness was also malicious, but what I'm saying is that they were people who had lived lives that led them to think of themselves first because previously, they had been in survival mode.

I think during college, I was drawn to these people in particular because we shared feelings of not fitting in. We shared stories of struggling to assert our identities in a place where we were different from most of the other students. And even though I hadn't really had to be in survival mode like some of them, I felt like I fit with them more than anyone else at school.

As I've gotten older, I've come to realize that there are others who can relate to my struggle to find my identity and who are passionate about the same issues I am passionate about, yet have values much closer to mine. My parents taught me to care for others, to be considerate of others, and to always think about how my actions could affect others.

Marriage, work, family, and taking care of a puppy leaves little time for friends. And this is one place where I am selfish. I only share my limited free time with people who deserve it; people who support me and care for me, and who see friendship as a two way street.


shelleystirs said...

I believe that some friends are friends for seasons in our lives. Some are the college friends, some are the work friends, some are the friends you have when your kids are really young. We move on, or they move on, and it's okay because they are meant to be our friends for just that time in our lives.

Nadine said...

In some ways I think moving far away can reveal true friends also. Moving really forces you (and your friends) to put a good amount of effort in to maintaining your relationship. I feel like I'm closer to my friends from California now but I have a smaller group of them. Funny how things work out.

TheTinyHeart said...

I think it's hard to maintain friendships when you live in different states. I also think the older I get, the more I've recognized a toxic friend. I'm okay with having less friends that are TRUE friends than having more friends that aren't really my friend after all.

The Tiny Heart

Reese said...

I've lost a lot of selfish friends like the ones you posted about. Personally I think I'm better off not having them in my life. My dad was in the Army, and as a result I spent 23 years moving from place to place. Once, we stayed only 11 months at one of his duty stations. However, now I'm finding that it's the civilians that I'm having the most difficulty keeping in touch with.

My best friend and I only lived in Germany together for Three years, and we've been best friends for almost ten. We trade off flying/driving (we live 10 hours away from each other )to see each other and our families, and I seriously could not imagine my life without her. However, I live two hours away from some of my other friends, and I have not seen them in almost two years. That just goes to show you.

Some friendships are golden. Those are the one's you should concentrate on. The others, well eventually they'll figure out that in order to have true friends, they need to be a true friend themselves.

Good post!

lil desiqua said...

Great post!
I think you give some of your old friends a lot of credit. But I agree, living in different states does force friends to put in more effort, and sometimes it just doesn't work. Also, sometimes I feel like you don't even know that some friends are toxic, or just not that great, until you physically move, or mentally take a step back. At least that's how it was for me. Sounds like you are better off without them!

Being Reese 2 said...

Ekkk I got your email. I hadn't realized that I hit the no-reply option on this comment.

Thanks for the heads up!