Monday, January 6, 2014

The 'Cost' of Friendship

Throughout the years I’ve lost friends, or they wrote me off because our lives were not going in the same direction and vice versa.  Many of my good friends got married, had children and I too was married at one point without kids, now divorced without kids.  How were we going to get along? Very easy, how did we become friends in the first place?  Yes this is something the girls talk about when we’re together, the married, the single, the divorced, separated ones we talk about it.  We talk about the friends we have lost because they refuse to leave their town to go out and have a good time.  We talk about the friends we have lost because we’re the only ones not talking about our children at their bbq.  We talk about the friends we all can’t hang out with at the same time because someone doesn’t like the other one or whatever gripe it may be.  We talk about them because we can’t figure out why they wouldn’t want to go out with their friends.  But we get together to talk, to chat, to catch up.   Yet I find it funny that once their children get older, they all of a sudden have time for you, years have passed by and they think its okay now to catch up.  I’m still not sure how I feel about that because so much time has gone by and no effort was ever made on their part (no Christmas cards, no text conversations, no emails).  If they truly wanted to catch up, there’s 9 digits to dial, an email or a text to send, a halfway between houses to meet up where the husband watches the child for a few hours.  It all comes down to how important is that friendship.  I’m not saying that all parents are like this, just using it as an example.

I too have had a schedule full of softball games or other hobbies I am interested in, and I may live an hour from most of my friends, but at least I put it out there, even if that means meeting up after work.  For example, three weeks ago, because I know scheduling things with friends with children have to be done ahead of time, I text a good friend of mine about today for lunch.  I heard nothing back.  I’ve extended the same olive branch in a few Christmas cards to others with no response either.  Nice huh?  When do I stop putting in the effort?

I can say the same for some of my single/separated/divorced friends (with and without kids).  Try a month in advance, a few weeks to days in advance to plan something, come up with a date that’s set in stone, find a place to go, then day of I get the cancellation.  Yes this can happen to anyone and everyone who has heard all the excuses in the book.  Yes you can try to appease the situation and hope for next time, but when next time this happens again, then again and again ‘when do I stop putting in the effort?’ At what point do I end the friendship?

I’ve made efforts to drive to my friends’ houses, meet them halfway, but some of them (not all) won’t pay it back.  I shouldn’t always have to be driving to your house to go out or better yet, pick the place to go out by you when I don’t even live there.  I shouldn’t have to pick you up and drop you off when you don’t make the effort to do the same.  There are no excuses and I’ve realized that real friends compromise and make the effort no matter where you are in life, what state you’re in, how far you have to drive, even if it means rescheduling until you meet up.  Chances are if you get a ‘reschedule’ request, most of the time you end up going out anyway and making new friends (maybe next time I’ll send the ‘rescheduler’ a bill).

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