Something happens when you’re older, aside from the obvious weight gain and memory loss.
You sort of forget what it means to be a friend.
Or maybe your definition of a friend changes.
Whichever. I feel like that’s what’s happened to me lately.
In high school it was easy. Friends were the people you hung out with every morning before class or after school. They were the people you called late at night to cry about a breakup or gush about a new crush. You brought an embarrassing amount of flowers and helium balloons to school on their birthdays and wrote them letters, neatly folded into origami-like forms, when you were in class.
Friendship got trickier in college. Most of us had to juggle full class schedules, extracurricular activities and part-time jobs. I didn’t have as much time as I did in high school to hang with my friends — most of my spare time was spent working or studying — and I didn’t see them as often during the day, either. We all took different classes, had different breaks, or weren’t even on the same island anymore. We wrote letters every now and again — yes, this was before e-mail — and called on the weekends. But it wasn’t the same.
And now fast forward nearly 20 years and I can’t even remember to take the laundry out of the dryer much less post, “Happy Birthday!” on someone’s Facebook wall.
I don’t know what happened to me — or if friendships change over time and there’s not much I can do about it
I’m a firm believer, though, that all relationships — and that includes friendships — need to be nurtured and require attention. You should call, you should check in, you should be there when they need you. But as we get older, the face-to-face time gets harder and harder, and you suddenly realize you haven’t talked to or seen your bestie in months.
Lately, I think I’ve been a bad friend. Despite my social nature, I tend to hide out a lot. I like to be alone, spend time with my dogs, hang with my family, watch whatever’s on Bravo. As most of my close friends can attest, it’s hard to get me to go out these days. Party invites and tweetup RSVPs sit untouched in my inbox for weeks. I dread going to events where there will be more than 10 people in attendance. I do it and I almost always have fun while I’m there — it’s just hard getting me there.
That’s not an indicator of a friend gone bad. It is, though, when I can’t meet friends for lunch or text them on their birthdays or send thank-you cards.
I used to be better about it. I don’t know what happened.
I had a conversation about this with another super-busy blogger type and she said friendships shouldn’t be overly complicated. If she doesn’t see you or hear from you in weeks, fine. But when she needs you, she expects you’ll be there. I guess that makes it simpler.
And people can be bad friends but great acquaintances. And maybe we should determine what the nature of the friendship is before getting our feelings intertwined and ultimately hurt.
I feel badly for all the friends who might have felt dismissed in recent years, displaced by my dogs or my sick sister or my big move from Aina Haina. I really don’t have any excuse. It was never intentional; my life got in the way. But it’s always good — not matter how much it hurts — to get reminded of that every once in a while.