I had been thinking of writing a post on friends for a week or so when Katy posted the following blog http://katydunnet.com/2011/09/minimalist-friendships/
Having read Katy's post and mentioning my thoughts in her comments I decided it was time to write my post and expand on what I had been thinking...so here goes.
Friends, acquaintances, mates, de-friending, chums, besties, girlfriends, un-friending, boyfriends, buddies...the words themselves bring to mind different people and different emotions.
I was one of those kids who made friends with the other kids at the campsite on holiday even though we would only be there a few days, who chatted to the other children at the party I didn't really know, who would end up playing with other children on the beach on a day trip (and probably proclaimed them my 'best' friends even though I'd never see them again). Roll the clock forward and I'm the awkward teenager who is the stereotypical wall flower at a party, not wanting to talk to anyone in case they think badly of me or I say the wrong thing - quite a turnaround - is it just me or is that just the change in perception from carefree under 10 to weight of the world teenager?
I am still friends with the girl who was probably my first 'best friend'. (Yes T I'm talking about you!) She was 4 and I was 3 when I started at the playgroup she was already attending. Apart from playgroup we never attended the same school as we moved away when I was 4 (nearly 5). Our parents and therefore us kept in touch. Birthday sleepovers and day trips, joining us for a few days when we were camping. Then I really went away, to Uni, and we drifted a bit. Birthday and Christmas cards were still exchanged and the occasional letter full of the names of people we would never meet!! In time she met her Mr Right and I was invited to the wedding, then she had her first child and I was invited to the Christening. That as when we really reconnected, the party after the Christening was held in the same Scout Hut where we used to go to playgroup. Within minutes my Mum and hers were in the kitchen sorting out the sandwiches and cakes just like all those years ago, and there were me and her sitting on the floor with the toys playing with her daughter - how things change but stay kinda the same!!
I'm still friends with a girl from primary school (when I say still we lost touch but facebook brought us in contact again) and we meet for dinner every few months for a chat and a catch up. I still have friends from Uni that I am in regular contact with on facebook and I visit one of them to stay every so often (twice in 12 years so far!). Then there are a few people from jobs I've had that I still get together with. It may sound strange but with them it's dinner once a year but it's as if the time in between fades away (we email and text in between). And on another level still there are the colleagues I work with now, some of whom I would consider friends (I'd be happy to see them outside work) and others I wish I didn't work with at all!!! And people I've met via facebook get togethers some of which I now consider really good friends and others as passing acquaintances and I wonder why I am still facebook friends with them!
I do clear out my facebook friends quite regularly. I warn people I'm going to have a clear out and if you don't interact with me every so often you're out!
But what of those people you stop being friends with for other reasons. There are those that naturally come to an end due to the end of school, a job etc. I guess they end as they aren't important enough to either of you to make the effort. I have a few friendships at the moment that are heading towards that point. The only reason they haven't ended already is that I am still making the effort. But if it's not being reciprocated when do you cut the bond and stop trying? I value my friends, it feels like a defeat, a failure...
And as for the flip side of that. The good friend(at least I thought they were) that defriends you on facebook with no explanation. Who ignores the text, voicemail and email you send them. Do I give up and accept I'll never know what happened? Does it matter?
Should you declutter your friends the same way you do your stuff? I haven't used it (spoken to them) in six months it's (they're) better out of my life? Is it as easy as that?
That's quite enough from me - what are your thoughts?