Friendships: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Friendships: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Wed, Apr 25, 18 - Tamara Blake

Friends. In and out of our lives, brightening them up, sometimes causing angst, but definitely something we couldn’t live without. Yet, I for one have had some real roller-coaster rides with friends, and depending on what’s going on in my life, this has had a real impact on my friends and friendships. Everyone knows that maintaining a friendship, especially a close one, requires work. A lot of work at that. As life becomes busier, you move on in your career, or start a family; it is not abnormal to feel lonely.

A sense of lacking in the third sphere of your life

Being so busy means that keeping in touch isn’t always that easy or necessarily at the forefront of your mind and when you do have time, you feel guilty knowing you’ve been out of touch for a significant amount of time and know there may be some distance. Living in a big city like London or New York, for example, can exaggerate this lonely feeling. The city is bustling with people at all times of the day, with so many fun activities to go do and see every second on the day! Frankly it can feel quite overwhelming. Especially when you feel drained from a busy day, week or month and feel you can take advantage of all these things happening.

With some journaling and reflective thinking, these are some things I think about when I get anxious about losing touch with (once close) friends:

  1. If someone hasn’t been in touch, don’t assume the worst. There could be a million reasons why, and the only way you can find out is by communicating with them.
  2. You will naturally drift from certain people as life changes. That is okay! Don’t force it. Many friendships can withstand the test of time, and many have a place and time.
  3. Try to keep track of where your time is going. Yes, some weeks just see seem to slip away from you, but if its month after month, you may need to stop and change. I’ve often become complacent and you after stopping to identify where my time and energy was going I was able to make some beneficial adjustments.
  4. Do things that make you happy. Your time is so precious, so be selective about how to spend it and whom you spend it with.
  5. Make time for those you love and that means everybody. This can be a 5-minute texting session or a lovely 2-hour dinner, whatever works for both your schedules. If they are important to you, you make it happen.
  6. Be as honest and as transparent as you can. If you know you have been out of touch for a while, don’t be afraid to drop a line to your friend to say you know this is happening. No one is a mind reader and this way, they know where they stand with you. Sometimes this is all it takes.

Humans are finicky and unreliable and change like the weather. So, make sure you are checking in with yourself more often that you are checking in with other people. You only truly have yourself at the end of the day so find solo activities that you enjoy and write down your thoughts if you are not in the mood to talk to anyone. It can be just as therapeutic as a rant.