15 November 2005

Desperate Friendships

I have recently concluded that friendships are a more difficult relationship than marriages.
At least with marriages, there is a legal commitment. Spouses *have* to stay with you, no matter what. Well, theoretically. (:-D

Friendships, however, not so much. They come and go. It seems like it was easier when we were children and your best friend was “forever.” However, as adults it becomes nearly impossible to fulfill the forever part. People move, jobs take us away, families shift our priorities. Stuff happens.

And if you are married, it’s even more difficult. Not only are you finding a friend that matches You, they have to be somewhat compatible with your spouse! And oh, God help us if they have a spouse too. Couple friends are something that exists only in sitcoms, I’m convinced.

Why is it that guys can talk to complete strangers at sporting events and auto parts stores but ask them to attend a dinner party with couples they don’t know and they lock up?

But I digress…I warned you I’d do that.

It is difficult when you have built a friendship and the inevitable happens: a new job, a new home, or new baby. As much as you tell each other that you’ll keep in touch, I’ve noticed that reality always intervenes. Everyone has the best of intentions but it just rarely seems to work out.


Suddenly there is a fatal flaw discovered. You have built this friendship but find out that they are self-absorbed, or drink more than you are comfortable with, or horrible to waitresses and cashiers. Then what? How to gently exit the situation without concocting some abduction story?
How do you soothe your heart when the friendship fades slowly away and you are powerless to change it? The friend whom you know & love fades into addiction or is just unable to be a true friend?

Out of my group of friends from high school, only two of us are still in regular contact. We scattered to the four winds. One of us joined the Marines and never looked back, one of moved to Missouri and created a whole new existence, one of us are in jail and one of us lives in Germany and we hear from him only when some major event occurs.
Two of us remain, feeling slightly abandoned and wondering what-the-hell happened. Is it us? Is it the environment where we grew up? Or is this “normal”?

It’s gotten to where I scoff and eye-roll at the commercials, movies, and books that so warmly portray the life-long friendships of a group of women. My perception of friendships is more like the relationships of Desperate Housewives, which basic tenet is that we never know everything about anyone, especially our friends.

There are many levels of friendships now. There are work friends whom you socialize with occasionally, email friends that you’ve never actually met or email friends who used to be best friends but have been downgraded to email. There are friends that you see only at certain events: church, sports, etc. Everyone has that elusive friend that pops in and out of our lives at the most unpredictable times. Friends that you call when you’ve had a rotten day and they’ll make you feel better and friends that you Don’t Call when you’ve had a rotten day because they will often reply with “Oh, I know! You won’t believe what happened to ME today.” Ugh. (I guess that’s really not a friend then, huh?)

Everyone has one friend, the one friend whom you can call at 2:00 am because something horrible has happened, remembers your birthday, and will often call just to talk. I believe that a person always has one best friend; it just may not always be the same person.

Adult friendships are complicated. There are just so many variables.

What happened to “We both love Bon Jovi, you’re going to marry Jon, I’m going to marry Ritchie, and we’re going to be friends forever!”?

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