My friends and I have this awesome tradition where we remind each other how overdue we are to hang out, then don’t.
-Single Dad Laughing (from Facebook)
Friends are fickle things and friendship is a somewhat strange concept.
Some friendships last a lifetime, some pass by in an instant and others die out and then get rekindled years down the track.
There are some friends who you may not see for a decade, but when you finally do get together it is like it was just yesterday that you last saw each other.
Or it may be quite the opposite. I had this primary school friend once; she moved interstate and we communicated for years by letter. (Yes, handwritten letters, her family didn’t have a phone and it was way before the advent of email.) Our letters were full of gossipy communication, they were long and descriptive. Yet, when we eventually managed to meet up, during our late high school years, we found we had nothing to say to each other; despite our letters, we actually had very little in common any more. Sadly, we drifted apart.
Friendship has a lifespan.
Some friends are there for a specific reason and period of time. The girl I went to Japan with during university was a fantastic friend in the lead-up to our departure, during our 1-year scholarship and for about a year afterwards. I am not saying she became un-friendworthy after that, but the need for our friendship was over.
Sometimes you need to realise when it is time to let a friendship go. The memories of the friendship period should be cherished, but trying to push the union past its use-by date is futile.
The Facebook concept of friends is odd. I have had ‘friend requests’ from a number of people who, upon stalking their page, turn out to be friends-of-friends(-of-friends), but I do not know them. At last count I had 68 Facebook friends. This is a tiny number by Facebook standards, but at least I know every person on my list, and they are all friends in specific areas of my life — some are lifelong friends, others are colleague-friends or teammate-friends. But they are all actual friends.
The people whom I consider lifelong friends are those who I know I can get together with, have a coffee or whatever, and there won’t be long, awkward silences. These are friends who I may not have seen for years, maybe because they live in another state or country, but I know if we do see each other face-to-face again, we’ll just pick up where we left off.
They are friends with whom I can share my successes, my failures, my frustrations and my fears. I know they’ll listen, and they know I will listen to them.
Lifelong friends are also those friends who I promise to contact to arrange a coffee-date, and they reciprocate that promise … but somehow, it gets to the end of the school holidays and we still haven’t. But it’s ok, because both of us know that this doesn’t mean our friendship is over.