On Friendships: Lost and Found

I have about a million different posts that I want to write, but this one has been on my mind for a while and I just couldn’t wait any longer to put pen to paper, so to speak.

I am a notorious giver of second (third, fourth, fifth and sixth) chances. If you mean something to me in any way, you can guarantee I will do my very best to keep you in my life for as long as humanly possible, regardless of whether that’s actually in my best interest or not. While I do believe everyone deserves a second chance, I’m working on being less forgiving when friends treat me badly. (More along the lines of a “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” kind of thinking.)

In college, I never had to try to hard to maintain my friendships because I would run into someone I knew practically every time I stepped on campus to go to class. That made things easy. So did Facebook. I wasn’t worried about seeing people after I graduated because I was staying in the same city that I went to school in, and I knew I would have no problem putting in a little bit of effort to see the people that I cared about.

Not thinking that maintaining friendships would be such a struggle was my first mistake. I didn’t realize that moving a mere twenty minute walk off-campus would mean my friends rarely, if ever, would want to come to my apartment. Nor did I realize how campus-centric all of my still-in-college friends were. Want to pre-game with everyone before heading downtown to a bar? Better get my ass over to my friend’s on-campus apartment because no one was gonna make the walk to my place, despite our apartments being the same distance away from the subway. Want to get together with everyone after work one day? Better have money to take a cab home because instead of coming into the city to go to a bar that’s equidistant to all of our apartments, they plan on going to a bar right next to campus because it’s “convenient for everyone.” Clearly, not.

But none of that stuff bothered me… At first. I was totally fine making the journey short walk to campus if it meant getting to hang out with my friends. What I didn’t see coming was that no one would ever feel compelled to take the same short walk just to hang out with me. Sure, friends came to the Halloween party my roommate and I threw and there was the occasional girls night or dinner get together, but mostly I knew that if I wanted to hang out, it meant me going to them.

My second mistake was thinking that distance was the biggest issue. I soon came to realize that while it was super awesome that, after years of having part-time jobs, I finally had nights and weekends off, that didn’t really mean seeing my friends more due to the fact that most of them are still on “college time.” Meaning: They have part time jobs, days off during the week, can stay up late because they don’t have early classes and study on the weekends.

As someone who, just last year, had 2 part-time jobs, a work-study,  an internship and was taking 20 credits, trust me when I say I understand what it’s like to be busy. So I really do get that sometimes things get so crazy that people forget to eat. What I don’t understand is how being crazy busy translates into letting your friendships go out the window. Maybe you don’t have time to get together with someone, but there’s always time to send a “hey, how ya doin’?” text. Texting takes 5 seconds, people.

I have a very good friend who lives near Pittsburgh (which isn’t close to Philly, for those of you who failed geography) and even though we live so far away from each other, I still talk to her on a weekly basis. She knows more about what’s going on in my life than some of my good friends who only live a mile from me. That’s just sad. Same goes for my very best friend, who lives in my hometown in MA. We only see each other a handful of times each year, but we make a point to call each other every now and then, and always talk for hours about what we’re each up to. Obviously I would rather be able to see her more, but we make it work and our friendship is just as solid as it’s ever been. (It’s actually her birthday today – HAPPY BIRTHDAY, A!!)

Losing friends is always really hard for me. It’s never a good feeling when you realize that you’ll be better off without someone in your life, no matter how much, or how little, they meant to you in the first place. The worst is when you have no idea why you’re not friends anymore. One of my college friends just stopped answering my texts, completely out of the blue. I honestly have no idea what happened or why we no longer talk. One second it was all “We totally have to get together after the holidays!” and the next, silence. Despite my best efforts and “Where have you been all my life- I miss you!” texts, I haven’t heard a single peep from her since December. After a couple months of unanswered messages, I finally forced myself to stop reaching out. I deleted our texts from my messages log and tried to move on. But I think of her every now and then and wonder what she’s up to and, yes, still wonder why our friendship fell apart. (Side note: My boss is an adjunct at Drexel and she happens to be in the class he teaches that starts in a week and a half… Which I help with. So that won’t be awkward at all…)

Equally as hard as the “instant loss” is when you’re watching a friendship fizzle out before your eyes and can’t seem to do a damn thing about it (or, in my case, have to force yourself not to because this is the umpteenth time this has happened with this person and enough is enough). One of my best friends in Philadelphia and I have gone through this before. She goes through what I like to call “flaky spells,” for a few months things will be great and we’ll see each other all the time and text a bunch, but then things start spiraling. First she backs out on plans, then she “forgets” about plans for one reason or another, and so on and so forth. I understand things happen and situations come up that you really do have to drop everything to handle, but that understanding only goes so far. Once or twice, every now and then? Sure, I get it. Three, four, five times, in a row? Not so much. Being busy and falling off the social radar? Totally understandable. No longer texting or really talking at all? (Re: Paragraph 7; Texting takes 5 seconds, people.) In an unexpected slap in the face, she even backed out on plans we had a couple weeks ago because something came up and she couldn’t afford to keep our plans and still participate in Erin Express (Philly’s St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans, that happen 2 Saturdays during the month of March). That’s right, she chose to day drink instead of spend time with me. Awesome.

The jury is still out on this one. While I would love to get back the friendship we once had, things aren’t looking good at the moment. I’m emotionally exhausted from being let down by her so many times, but I still love her and, as previously stated, hate losing friends when the situation can be avoided. I’ve resolved to just wait and see what happens. Since my attempts to foster the friendship have kind of fallen on deaf ears, it’s going to be up to her to make the first move…

My friendships haven’t been all bad, though. I recently reconnected with someone I used to work with and we’ve had a lot of fun hanging out together. Like me, she graduated last year, but still lives in Philly, so it seems like we’re more on the same page with things, which has been really great for me because we’ve done a lot more than just go out drinking together, including going to the Philly Magazine “Race Chat” at the National Constitution Center this past week. (I promise to blog about that soon! It was really interesting.)

I was also lucky enough to get to visit with a good friend of mine from high school, who happened to be in Philly a couple of weekends ago. She actually didn’t even tell me she was going to be here, and I would have never known, but she ended up posting a picture of Ben Franklin’s grave on Instagram. An “ARE YOU IN MY CITY AND DIDN’T TELL ME!” text later and we were on our way to hanging out. (Don’t worry, she drunkenly apologized profusely for forgetting I lived in Philly, and, really, I was just happy to finally see her.) Though we hadn’t seen each other in years, it was like nothing had changed, and she even ended up crashing at my place the night before she went back to Boston. Just being able to spend time with her was fantastic, but a week or so later, I got the cutest card in the mail. Yes, she had taken the time to hand-write a lovely friendship note and thanked me, again, for my hospitality. After all of my shitty friendship stuff these past few months, that card made me so happy and thankful to have someone like her in my life. Awesome friends, you rock.

I can’t finish this post without mentioning my roommate. She is awesome and my current partner in crime on 99% of my adventures. We seem to be completely on the same page about most things… And are both broke broke broke. (Which you’d think wouldn’t really matter, but try living with someone who has lots of money and can do/buy whatever they want, whenever they want, but you barely have 2 nickels to rub together… I would assume that’s not such a good time.)

You may be asking yourself why I posted about such a personal topic (or wondering why you’re still reading this book-length post of mine)… Did you ever have any teachers who, when they asked if anyone had a question, would say something along the lines of “If you’re confused about it, other people are, too.” That’s kind of how I view this subject. I can’t be the only recent grad who’s having problems with her friends who are still in college, can I? Part of growing up and maturing is maybe going in a different direction than some of your friends, but does that have to mean losing them? Do you guys have these issues, too?

And, like Taylor Swift should be doing, I have to ask- is it me? Am I the problem in all of these friendships? Do I expect too much? Or is this all part of the twenty something package? Let me know in the comments! (Seriously though- if you think I’m being ridiculous, please call me out on it.)

Thanks for reading this one, hopefully it wasn’t too hard to get through! x

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7 thoughts on “On Friendships: Lost and Found

  1. I relate to this completely. COMPLETELY. I am always the one who puts more efforts into friendships, and it seems like most people really just don’t care. I’ve had the “no idea why we’re not friends anymore” — and it was with my BEST friend. I still don’t know what happened to her! It hurts worse than a breakup. Unlike you I’m several years out of college, but I’ve found it only seems to get worse as people move in with significant others, get engaged, etc. It really doesn’t make sense to me because I feel like the twenties are one of the stages of life where you need your friends the most. But I guess people get caught up in focusing on other things. There are still good friends to be had, of course…but I totally feel you on how hard it is to lose people along the way.

    • I think the reason it feels worse than a breakup is because we go into romantic relationships knowing that they most likely will end at some point or another, but good friendships are supposed to last forever, so it’s a bigger shock if they end. I take comfort in knowing that while it may initially hurt to cut ties with a friend, it’s really in my best interest. And if I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that you really do have to do what’s right for you, without caring what other people may feel or think about it.

  2. This a really great post. You dove deep into a lot of very specific situations which I know a LOT of people face as they graduate from college, and you’re spot-on about everyone else being just as confused even though they’re not raising their hands.

  3. I related to being that friend that’s intensely there for a few months then drops off radar. I realize after reading your post, and even before, that this is very jarring for people that had enjoyed my company. Thanks for the mirror I will get to work on that funky flaky behavior.

    • We all can be like that sometimes, I’m sure! As someone occasionally on the receiving end of that behavior, I can tell you that just a little effort on your part (like a text to say “hi” or an attempt to schedule a coffee date, etc.) goes a really long way!

  4. Even if the friend doesn’t speak to you again, why not just be happy for all the time your friend have given you? I find myself to be in this situation a lot. but I never try to worry about that. I just try to remember all the good times me and my friend have and hope one day my friend will come back to me. If my friend come back to me in the future, I’ll be here talking to my friend again.

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