Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Value of Friendship

Growing apart from a friendship can be inordinately painful. Don't ever take a close friend for granted because if you do you or the other person may end feeling disappointed or experience hurt feelings. During my life time I have felt very fortunate to have maintained a few very close relationships with people whom I have known since early childhood. It isn't the quantity of friends, it is really all about the quality of the friendship. The commonality of experiences growing up with a best friend can cement that closeness over time even when people take different paths in life.

A very old dear friend of mine that I have known since infancy who knows nearly everything personal about me and has seen and heard it all may no longer value our friendship as much as I have. Naturally people grow apart especially when geography becomes a factor. Attempts to keep in touch over the years sometimes have occurred during holidays or birthdays but now that seems to be happening less often too. Telephone chats seem to resort back to talking about things we did and said when we were kids and often sharing a memory of a humorous incident. E- mails often an attempt to stay connected yet long palpable lapses involving lost connectedness.

We both had our share of challenges growing up in dysfunctional families and part of the reason we were able to get through some of it is because we had each other to turn to during some of the difficult times, not feeling so alone. We used to be able to finish each other's sentences now we have difficulty knowing what the other person is saying or what they really mean.
Misunderstanding and perhaps hurt feelings have fallen into an abyss of lack of communication.

Perhaps I have made a fatal misassumption about realistic expectations on what friendship should mean. Once or twice a year I am able to return home to visit family and I truly make an effort to connect with close friends. I know they have busy lives and for them it might mean trying to fit in some time but I do so appreciate it when they make that effort. I guess maybe I miss some of them more than they miss me because I was the one who moved away. So naturally my feelings end up being hurt when it appears they seem to lack any sense of enthusiasm or excitement towards planning to get together socially. I really don't know how to interpret this other than to take it a bit personal since the last two times I have made it home for a visit my efforts to get together were thwarted.

Maybe I need to be less sentimental about friendship and just accept that growing apart is no one's fault and despite years of growing up together sometimes you try to hang on and it just becomes increasingly difficult to maintain for one person or one reason or another.

1 comment:

Madame DeFarge said...

I think I understand what you mean here. I both value and undervalue friendship and always regret both. But I am not an inherently sentimental person and tend to shed as I go along - not always a very happy thing to do.