I recently read an article shared by a friend on Facebook about friendships and how these change during the transition from adolescence to adulthood: ‘Why adult friendships makes me sad sometimes‘. The result of reading it making me stop and think, and reflect on what she wrote through the eyes of my own life.
I can relate to what she’s said of how during my teenage years, so many hours were devoted to building and maintaining friendships: the highlights of the week always being break time and lunch time at school, the use of messenger as soon as we got home and the rise of Bebo and especially Facebook (which apparently I joined almost nine years to the day ago!), the day-long day trips walking around the local town shopping – or more appropriately – window shopping. I always managed to remember to give out birthday cards, Christmas cards and was a rather avid gift giver as a display of my friendship.
Yet, as the author of the above article so articulately wrote, as I’ve creeped further into adulthood and more candles appear on the cake, the clock seems to race against me to remember to speak to a friend, invite them to an event, attend their own event… and the list goes on. I worried that my travels abroad during my third year of my undergraduate degree in Spain and China would result in losing many friends. Although we have technology in abundance these days, it is so easy to not pick up the phone and have meaningful exchanges like I once spent 2-3 hours a night doing at the young age of 15. Life is no longer within the confines of my parents’ rules and dependence and without this, the rest of the real world comes flooding in with responsibilities, distractions, and skewed perceptions of what sometimes is more important.
Yet, I have been so fortunate to have long-distance friendships that still stand strong. And, despite only seeing some of them once, twice a year, I adore them more than anything ❤
These friendships that have stood the test of distance, time, high stress-levels, bursts of excitement etc. give me faith that I’m doing something right by them. At least, I hope so. Many of my friends have joined the working world yet time doesn’t adjust to accommodate ‘adult friendships’ as if we all still have three million things on our to do list before being able to at least sit on the couch and take a relaxing breath.
These changes that accompany the transition to the independent big wide world are not something that we can control, nor is there a solution to harmonising the balance between work, life, home, friends, family and a myriad of other things that take up our time. Nevertheless, I now understand when one should always continue to build the metaphorical bridge between friendships or let them slowly burn down and go our separate ways. I guess it’s own own responsibility to recognise where we apply our efforts like our social-obsessed teenage selves did and even though it is not an easy skill to master, it is manageable. One of my lovely friends always has time for everyone, and reminded me that sometimes it can be good to give friendships a second, third, even fourth try because that is the right thing to do. And if it works, the rewards are endless.
However, this time, I believe that holding onto the past never has got anyone very far and I’ve recently done that in a bid to sympathise, to be a good person, to try and keep a crumbling bridge from crashing down, and to protect the other person and myself from hurt. But in all honestly, it has, instead, dragged it out, letting the bridge to just implode from the pressure of the unhealthy friendship.
*sigh* life happens.
Yet it’s not what falls apart that defines us and this doesn’t mean that adulthood is the doom of friendship and happiness! Although it can be a real struggle and there isn’t any guidebook telling us what to do or how to balance anything. As my godmother reminds me, some friendships are put on the “back-burner” but depending on circumstances can be rekindled at a moments notice. Just to make life even more complicated! 😀
So, I can’t agree with Man Repeller more:
This does not mean giving up. I have a lot of cards sitting on my dresser that I intend to mail once I finally buy stamps; there are a few friendships that I cracked and want to repair. At the same time, I have faith that certain sisterhoods [and brotherhoods] are built to withstand periods of not-so-good friendship, and when they do, I will thank those enduring souls for their patience, send magnificent bouquets of flowers and be prepared to reciprocate.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2vBLd5Egnk – Scared to be lonely.