Have you ever stopped and thought about all the relationships you’ve ever had growing up and the friendships that have grown from meeting specific people, some of whom you might have even considered your best friend? Have you then taken a look at your life now and compared to your life when these people are most significant to you and realise that the vast majority of these people haven’t even crossed your mind in years?
I’ve found myself in this predicament and it wasn’t really until one of these said people suddenly, out of the blue, popped up on Facebook messenger after reading a status I’d posted a few days before about having a bad day at work. And then a nearly two hour conversation happened where we caught up with each others’ lives and where we were and what plans we had. And it was nice. But it also made me quite sad when I tried to remember the last time I actually spoke to this person either online or actually in person, and I honestly couldn’t remember. I felt terrible. How is it you can let people who were once so close to you just slip through your fingers and forget about?
From childhood to young adulthood, which I find myself in now, I have crossed paths with many people who I once called friends and the reality of it is that most of these people I haven’t spoken to since I left school and went off to University. Some might call it a shame, others neglectful. Whatever you want to call it its just how life plays out sometimes and there’s not much you can do to change it.
Of course, there’s always that little thing called keeping in touch with people, that might do the trick! But then I just think to myself,
Why should I make the effort when they’re not making the effort either?
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be the first to admit that I am utterly terrible at keeping in touch with people. But at the same time, why should it always be my responsibility to be the first one to do something about it? Like the old phrase goes: it takes two to tango. Surely the responsibility of keeping in touch with people should be shared between yourself and said friend, right? Apparently not.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that my friendship group has grown smaller and smaller. My childhood wasn’t particularly great friendwise, as I found myself to be quite quiet and tended to spend a lot of time alone. My early to mid teens saw a boost and small expansion in my friendship circle and saw genuine relationships growing between myself and others who I soon considered to be close with. My mid to late teens saw yet another boost as I began to find myself as a person and battled with early adulthood. Then Uni happened, which is where dynamics started to change and friendships and relationships began to fray.
Once you move away from everything and everyone you’ve ever known, things change. You meet new people, you surround yourself amongst completely new personalities and experiences and it feels somewhat difficult to try and connect and relate to those that you left behind, particularly with those that chose not to go to Uni. You’re lives contrast so much that there’s barely anything you can talk about that the other will feel involved in or relate to. This is one reason why friendships are lost.
Another is just a lack of communication or effort to catch up with one another. This was definitely one of my downfalls, but also the downfalls of others too.
But surely going to University should boost the number of friends you have further, surely? At first, yes. You meet lots of new people and can gain hundreds of new friends before you’ve even started your course thanks to the wonderful world of Facebook. First year is the year of socialising and making new connections; second year you reduce the hundreds of new friends down to a manageable number; and third year is when you truly establish who you really get along with and enjoy spending your time with, reducing it down to a small handful of individuals who you truly care about.
But what happens after Uni when all of your new friends are miles away all across the country? For me, it’s seen yet another drop in my friendship group as I continue to be utterly rubbish at keeping in touch with people. I guess I could say I’m the sort of person who needs a little nudge every now and then. If someone pops up and starts a conversation from nowhere, I’ll talk and I’ll love it, but chances are it wouldn’t cross my mind to do it to others.
I think this goes back to being younger and thinking that I was always a burden on some people (people who, at the time, I had considered to be my ‘friends’). The truth is, looking back, some of the people I chose to keep close to me weren’t good for me mentally and probably caused more trouble than good self-esteem wise.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve also realised that it doesn’t matter how many friends you have on Facebook, its about the quality of those people that you choose to associate yourself with and the way they make you feel. The best kind of friends are those that you can not speak to for long periods of time and then as soon as you’re together nothing has changed.
How have you dealt with lost friendships over the years? Do you share my problem of being rubbish at keeping in touch with others? Has it ever been difficult for you to pick up from where you left off with people you haven’t spoken to in a while?
Until next time,