Old & Dear FriendshipsPosted: December 2, 2011
The phone rings and when I pick it up I am startled to hear from a long ago friend. We worked in the same building for a year about twenty years ago. Then she moved across the country and we exchanged a few notes. I haven’t heard from in at least ten years and didn’t expect to ever hear from her again. But I am truly delighted. Her voice brings back memories of a time when we were quite close and I feel as though I am talking with a good friend. Time isn’t important.
When we make friends with someone, it is because our lives touch in some way and we are attracted to certain qualities the other person has. Some friendships last a long time but many break up because our lives change and our reason for being together isn’t strong anymore. Even in these days of internet correspondence, it isn’t easy to keep up with everyone we ever knew and liked in our lives.
When the kids grow up, the parents no longer meet at Little League games and they part company without any sense of loss. When we switch jobs, or get married divorced, or move to a different place, our friendships may dissolve in a natural way. It doesn’t mean the friendship was faulty or lacking in any way, it just means we are moving on.
Whether we do continue the friendship depends on many factors. There are some friendships that need to be dissolved because we are disappointed with the quality of the friendship itself and if that is the case, there is no real reason to hang on. Sometimes the only really strong reason for being together is because of one common cause and when that disappears and so does the friendship. Sometimes we let people go because it is easy to do so. They don’t make the effort and neither do we and we grow apart because of apathy.
It does take some work to keep up friendships, even with people we love. We have to nurture the connection by answering the phone messages they leave. We have to remember the birthdays with at least a phone call or card. We have to make room in our busy schedules to have lunch or go to the movies once in a while.
I was so pleased when the person who called me said she’d been thinking about me and I was happy to chat about our lives, our kids and our careers. As I hung up the telephone, I felt as though I’d received a gift of love from someone who cared about me. I was very pleased.
Later, I found the lesson in love that her phone call gave me. I enjoyed the feelings of mutual friendship and then it occurred to me that I could have those kinds of feelings more often if I’d been a bit more assertive. While I was happy to receive her call, it never occurred to me to make the first move. During the past ten years I’d thought about her several times but never thought to drop her a line or call her.
Obviously, I was denying myself a pleasant friendship experience because I was apathetic, or shy or just not thinking straight. I certainly won’t let another ten years go by because she is a good friend and I’m going to call a few other old friends and see how they are doing now that I’m more aware of the value of old and true friendships. I am also going to send out a Holiday Letter this year. Why not take the time to let people know they are in my heart?
Anyone you want to call today?
Anyone you want to send a card and tell them how much they mean to you?