Friendship is something I have always held close to my heart, next to family and if I wanted to be very profound God (maybe I should add cleanliness too?). Good friendship is hard to find and when you find it, you have to cultivate it through the ups and downs like any good relationship.
When I moved to New York, I was admittedly naive in thinking all my friendships would last in my hometown. Five years later, I have come to understand what that word truly means.
A friend, who had moved to New Hampshire from Ohio (and since moved back, but guess what we still make the effort to stay connected) gave me the best advice for my sanity when I moved. You can’t be the only one making the effort and those who want to be your friend will be regardless of time and space. No matter how painful, sometimes you have to let them go. If you don’t, you will drive yourself insane.
It is a lesson I have held onto five years later.
It didn’t make it any less painful when a friendship petered out, like snow melting in spring. But it made me realize that I couldn’t force them to stay. Any relationship, whether it be; romantic, friendship, even family, it is a two person effort, not just the lone wolf.
Moving away taught me who my friends were, and to this day still are. They are the ones who will take time out of their busy schedules, to see you. Even with kids, weddings, pets, dating, work, All the craziness going on in their lives, they still try to find time, even if it is a fly by coffee date. True friends keep the connections going, and no not because of Facebook.
In the age of social media it is easy to say you are “connected” and that you are “friends.” Sure I have five hundred plus “friends” on Instagram and I can’t even keep track of all my “friends” on Facebook. But how well do I really know them? How many would I confide my deepest darkest secrets too? Less then a quarter.
I am not knocking social media. It has many good uses, least of which, keeping me connected to my friends from home, when I am gone or vice versa. Yet, there is also a superficial level to it as well. Friendships aren’t, nor should they be based on superficialness. I joke about making things “Facebook official” but that is all it is, a joke. When I received a save the date, or found out my friend was having a baby, I texted them because I wasn’t there in person, but wanted them to know that I was genuinely happy for the exciting events going on in their lives.
When I first moved, and would come back to visit, I realized I was literally making myself crazy by making the effort. I was like a dog begging for my food, but in this instance it was come spend time with me. I was devaluing my worth, for people who obviously didn’t care to see it.
I have grown-up a lot since then, and yes my friendships have changed, as we all grow and evolve, but their are still those who will be with you through thick and thin. that while the internet keeps you connected when you are apart, the real connections happen when you are together. Those are the relationships you want to cultivate.
I was reminded of that last night, when I met up with two of my girlfriends. We laughed a lot reminisced, had good, sound conversation and eventually shut the restaurant we were at, down, because it was non stop chatter. My friend and I even took one for the team by having a drink for our other friend, who is pregnant. Despite my not seeing these two incredible ladies for two months, it seemed like no time had passed.
That is friendship, not lived through social media, but human connection.
And these are the people you want in your life.