20 May 2007

Friends of past

What binds us to friends of past and why is it that one feels guilt when the emotion is not truly genuine any more? That talking becomes a chore, that laughing becomes forced? What is it that changes the friends you once used to know and laugh easily with? How can a sacred bond of closeness float away?

People do change and that is one way to explain how friends are no longer close, no longer true, but I wonder if there isn't more of a reason. Are we too "busy"--no time to set aside to have dinner, coffee, wine, see one another's home, meet their S.O.? What is it?

There are so many people who enter our lives and then leave. It's those who visit longer that we call friends.

I like to think that milestones in life bring to fruition those very feelings: who is close? Who can you count on? When I'm down and my husband isn't there, who will I call? Who will pick up? Who will call back? Who remembers? Who has been there?

Lately, especially when it came time to plan my wedding, I had to think hard about who to include, who to exclude--who was "close" enough to be invited. And it was hard. What were my reasons for inviting one coworker over another? Why was my boss invited but not a college friend who spent many a night crying, laughing, remembering with me?

And the past memories were there to remind me. This is what I should do. This is what I am supposed to do.

You're limited, I think, when you reach a certain age about the people you meet and who you will befriend. And it gets harder. No more are the classrooms that throw you into a mix of personalities with people your age, no more are the summer camps and late nights of drinking in college. The "friends of friends"...there are coworkers, random encounters, but even then you should have an established friend base.

Looking back I found it easy, especially in college, to find friendships. And now I feel as though I've outgrown not only some of those friends, but the ones I had in high school. Sure, I have a few important people that I call friends or best friends. Sometimes I wonder if the past is what makes them golden or if it's because they're always there to know me, understand me, and just let me be me.


daily editor said...

Very thoughtful post, Ripe. I think a lot of the questions you ask are difficult to answer (at least they are for me). I feel as thought it's difficult for me to admit it when I have hard keeping in touch with someone and too much time goes by and the while I'm in denial about how much I've changed or how much the other person has changed. And then when we do connect, it's feel strained and awkward. Sometimes I wish I tried harder, but sometimes I'm OK with that space -- and I have no idea what determines either opinion. Hmmm...

flutter said...

This was incredibly thoughtful and well written. I think your last assertion is most poignant.

Anonymous said...

I may have missed this were it not for the Indie Bloggers weekly "Arbitrarian." I've been thinking a lot about this lately so it's especially poignant for me. I've been noticing that it's not really a bad thing if we outgrow friends - sometimes it just happens and it's far easier than if a friendship ends with an explosion because to me, in the latter case, I question the person's motivations the entire time of our friendship. I don't even know if this makes sense. As someone who has lost her fair share of friends along the years, I found this particularly moving.

The View from Dupont said...

I saw this on the Arbitrarian as well and I'm glad it was pointed out - I've found myself heavily laden with that feeling of guilt you describe (which you did incredibly well, by the way) a lot in the last year with one specific group of friends. It's so strange to me that I can make a clean break in relationships without a problem, but friendships are almost impossible to find a release clause from.