Friendships have a use-by date
I RAN into an old friend the other day. It was a chance meeting. I consider this woman one of my true soul mates; someone I’ve shared so much with during the early days of my career. We have a similar sense of irony and humour, and see life through the same eyes.
We lost touch. The last time I had dinner with her was maybe two years ago. And yet the moment we sat down there was the same familiarity and comfort as if no years had gone by at all. We did the “OMG, what have you been doing?” thing for a while, and then reverted straight to the observations, laughter and social commentary that marked our friendship. I knew we would be friends to our death.
But I was left wondering how it is that some relationships stand the test of time and others just don’t, even though we give those friendships all the love in the world. When I moved back to Sydney a few years ago I stepped straight back into some of my friendships even though we’d lost contact over the years. And yet there were some that no longer jelled. What is the glue?
My theory is this. We have people we belong to. We don’t know why or how; possibly from a “past life” or from the same original species of apes; or the same tribe of early nomads. But it’s such a deep and obvious bond, we know we have come home. Such friendships don’t erode, even without tending. They are self-generating gardens, desert fruits, that require no water.
Other friendships are there for “a reason”. They are community based; in other words the community we are in at the time – other mums while the kids are young; colleagues from work; friends from art class; a partner who suited us then. We drift apart as circumstances change, our time being so limited. There is always a fondness when we meet later in life, but the connection has gone. Meanwhile, tribe members ignite the soul; make us laugh; make us feel real and accepted no matter how much time has elapsed. The common bond is not based on need or circumstance.
I believe friendships are like milk. Many pass their Use-By Date. Nothing to feel guilty about. We change. But there are just a few souls on the planet we belong to. And those friends will be there at our deathbed. Thankfully there are only a rare few, given the size of most standard bedrooms.
Do you have a friendship that is passed its use-by date; how do you deal with it? Do you agree there are friendships for reasons, seasons and to the death bed?
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Full story in The Australian today!