Thursday, September 16, 2010

Make New Friends ... Ditch the Old?

Do you ever have those days (or weeks) where you are craving some friend time?

Image Credit: Ya Ya Sisterhood

I sometimes find myself humming away with life for days or weeks at a time with little to no contact with my group of gal (and male) pals. Work, exercise, hobbies, and whatever else take over my mental calendar, and I literally forget to just reach out and say hi. I think a lot of my friends are in the same boat.

Let me also say that within my group(s), I am known as one of the planners. I am usually one of the first to reach out and plan a girls night, a dinner party, or a movie date. So if I, planner that I am, am not planning, you can also assume that no one else in my social circles really is either. And then poof! No one is seeing each other for weeks! How sad. Keeping up via Facebook and email is okay in the short term. But face (or phone) time with friends is priceless.

Right now, I am going through a weird friend period in my life. We are in that late-20's phase. We are all getting established in our careers, our homes, and our relationships with others. I'd estimate 75% of my friends (male and female) are married. Another 15% are in serious relationships. The other 10% are off dating and having a blast as singles, exploring new groups and things to do. And no matter single or paired off, my friends are spreading out. People are moving cross-country in search for a better paycheck or an advanced degree. People are leaving the city to raise families in the suburbs. Colleagues are leaving jobs for the next opportunity somewhere else.

It's a period of transition. And I feel like I am spinning around in the middle of it all, just trying to keep up. I miss my friends who have moved away. I wish I could see them more often. And then some of the other friendships, they are just not what they used to be.

I am a relationship-hoarder. I don't like to say goodbye. I tend to maintain connections with people, even when that relationship is giving me absolutely nothing in return. I have no idea why. It's really not healthy. It's more of an emotional drain on me than anything, because I get my feelings hurt when I don't get the friendship in return.

Is it like the Girl Scout song, "make new friends, but keep the old..."? Or is it time for me to do some friend purging, just like I do my clothes at the end of each season?

Recently, I have been attempting a more grown-up approach. I can only do so much to maintain a relationship. It has to be a two-way street. Plus, it's a period of transition, and with transition, comes new opportunity for me, too. I have made some FAB new friends recently, and ones that I think will be sticking around. That's the cool thing about being in your late twenties -- you know what is important to you in a friendship, and know how to watch out for and avoid those people who are going to be bad friends and fall off the friendship radar down the road.

So, my friends, I am craving time with you. I miss you. We have all been busy, and it's time to reconnect. When are you free? :)


Unknown said...

I totally agree - and can't wait for girls' night next week!

Rob Fine said...

I'm going to speak to something you only commented on in the blog-lead in on your gtalk status- not the actual blog. I've never understood the Facebook purge concept until recently.

When I first signed up for Facebook, I quickly learned that this site serves several organizational purposes for me: my email lookup, my phonebook for friends I don't regularly call, etc. I'm not going to keep tabs on an engineering classmate Scott McFenderson from college until I realize I need something from that class we took together 9 years ago (holy crap, has it been 9 years?)- then who is to the rescue? Facebook :D

But... my Android phone has recently decided that when I start a text message or email, I might want this same privilege. Which is nice if I could turn it off. I go to text my girlfriend Jessica and it pulls up 13 other Jessicas I've met somewhere along my journey. (Srsly, I have 14 Jessicas on Facebook). Ugh, annoying. So, I've now started deleting some of those people I'll likely never interact with again from high school, college or especially those people I've met once at a party. Even now, when someone tries to add me, it makes me think twice... do I really see a future with this person? Yeah, I'm a friendlist snob now. Thanks Google.

Anonymous said...

Wow, couldn't agree more with your post. I'm also in a bit of a friend time drought. Over the past few weeks I've gotten very busy at work and with playing tennis. I am also one of the planners and I stopped planning, and some of the other planners continued planning. But since I hadn't been around, they stopped inviting me! This led to lots of facebook pictures and status messages of events and other things I wasn't invited to. It made me feel bitter, jealous, and sad.

I don't want my friends to feel like I've deserted them, however, I don't want to go back to the times where I was so stressed BECAUSE of having friends to hang out with every night of the week. It's a tough balance. In the meantime, I have to find the friends that share my thoughts on this issue and make time with them. My friends that are just as busy as I am can totally relate with these feelings. My friends who are still hanging out every night of the week have a harder time understanding why I don't come out as often, and thus stop inviting me.

I too miss friends that no longer live within 50 miles of me. And I also agree friendship is a 2 way street as you mentioned.

Not sure what the solution is. I think being in a serious relationship makes it more difficult (especially since we live together!). It's easy to forget about hanging out with everyone else when you have someone to keep you company every day.

Sarah said...

Great post and spot on. Know we've talked about this before, but as you get older you realize the importance of quality over quantity in your r'ships with people. I'd rather invest my time and effort in those that are worth doing so and give as much as they receive, than in those fleeting acquaintances that just show up whenever something more interesting sparks their fancy and you happened to be involved. Good for you for taking the steps in order to establish and hang onto those r'ships worth having in your life and "spring cleaning" the rest. :)

Lauren said...

I could not agree with you more! It's funny, I find myself thinking about how my friendships have changed over the years at least once a day. I think we grow apart, and friendship is often based upon current commonalities or stages in our lives - like college, or a particular activity you're involved with. I have 1 best friend that dates back to when we were in 5th grade, and the rest have come and gone. Sometimes it's hard to say goodbye, but I've learned that the best thing to do when you realize a friendship has become one-sided is to just let it go. :)

Unknown said...

Ari - I can't wait either!! See you tomorrow!

Rob - that Facebook sync has messed with my phone contacts before too, and it's obnoxious. I haven't re-synced since, though I have also gone back and started purging anyways online ha!

Sarah and Lauren - you two rock, and I am totally with you!!

Unknown said...

Anon - thanks for stopping by! I completely agree with you on the types of people we need to be on the lookout for, because people like us are really going to get us, too.

And I also agree about the serious relationship part. I long swore I wouldn't be one of those girls that goes off with her man and never hangs with her girls, and I have tried so hard not to be, because my friends mean the WORLD to me. Sometimes I wonder if I am left out for the same reason as you said though, where they just stop inviting ME because they assume (most times incorrectly btw) that I am busy with him or whatever else?

Unknown said...

So true! I feel like everyone, including myself, lately has been feeling the same way. Maybe it's part of the quarter life crisis??

I'm glad we're all getting together tomorrow. It definitely needs to be a more common occurrence!

Unknown said...

Lindsay - haha, quarter life plus a few years for some of us now :) It was SO good to see you all last night, loved it!