By Marcia Love
It’s hard to let go of someone you’ve grown incredibly close to — knowing you’re not going to meet them for coffee to talk about your day, call them to catch up or send a goofy text to make them laugh.
I’m not talking about the death of a loved one. I’m talking about that point in your life when you both seem to drift away from one another. Someone you once confided in or went to with exciting news is no longer a part of your life. And what makes it worse is it’s usually for no particular reason.
The older I get, the more I realize how difficult it is to stay connected with everyone who’s touched my life. With each passing year, you make new friends and slip further away from other ones. Sometimes it can happen so gradually you don’t even notice, but when you do, it hurts.
As you grow older, these spontaneous separations seem to happen more often. And for me, those moments when I realize someone is no longer an active part of my life, or I’m no longer a contribution to theirs, are heartbreaking.
I love getting to know someone and learning their life story. Everyone is interesting in their own way, and that’s what makes it hard to let go once you’ve gotten to know their quirks and commonalities with you.
I’m thankful for the friendships I developed in high school, college and different workplaces. And so I’m very glad I’ve been able to stay in contact with my five best friends from high school. Although we live miles apart, scattered across the country, we’ve been able to maintain those friendships. The connections I’ve made in college and other workplaces, however, have been harder to keep up with.
In this day and age, it’s so easy to connect to people and collect friends, but it’s much harder to maintain a true friendship. Facebook may say we’re “friends,” and I may know everything about you as a result, but that doesn’t mean I’m truly a part of your life.
And adulthood only complicates friendships even further.
It’s not as simple as meeting in the sandbox and deciding you’re best friends because you’re the same age and love the Power Puff Girls. Adult friendships take longer to develop into something meaningful.
Adding to that is the fact you can be the same age and yet at completely different stages in life — ranging from college student to career-oriented individual to newlywed to parent and beyond.
One by one, we slowly drift apart as we enter those different phases. The new moms find connections with the other new moms to swap cute kid stories, and the singles seek out other singles to ponder together when they’ll each meet the right person.
For a friendship to abruptly end is like getting into a really good movie only to have it stop two-thirds of the way through. I want to see how it all plays out. I want to know where the star’s life is heading — how they overcome obstacles, forge new paths, and find their way.
Sometimes, it can almost feel like a breakup. To spend so much time getting to know someone — their likes and dislikes, family, insecurities, strengths, character — only to have it all come to an end is painful. What do you do with all that information you’ve gathered about their life? It now amounts to memories and good stories to share with others when a conversation reminds you of that person you knew not so long ago.
But I’m slowly learning that the old saying is true: quality over quantity. While I would love to maintain lasting friendships with the many people who’ve greatly impacted and shaped my life over the years, it’s just not practical to do that. Going deeper with the handful of people who are an important part of your life here and now is all you can ask for. And whether that friendship lasts for the next 10 years or the next 10 months, it was well worth the time invested.