Friends In Your Life

When we have friends we say, “I have X in my life.” It’s an interesting phrase. We often assume friends will be in our life forever. Oddly enough, we don’t expect the same from a spouse. Marriages break up, dissolve, or suffer from “irreconcilable differences,” but we expect friendships to go on forever.

BFFThey don’t. Sometimes we become friends over a specific project, problem, or event. We work closely together. The glue that holds us together is the work we share. Long hours of work, and we share personal stories. It’s a friendship. Then the project or event is over or the problem is solved. The bond is gone. The friendship drifts. And that’s fine. Friendships aren’t necessarily meant to last forever, and when they do, it’s a wonderful thing. When they don’t, there are great memories and shared skills and accomplishments.

Friendships at work can also be difficult. People to whom we’ve told our darkest fears and shared our dysfunctional family stories with are suddenly no longer our co-workers, they are the boss. Or the needy friend is suddenly a direct report.

It takes a strong heart and mind to know when a friendship is working. It takes a lot of spine to end a friendship that is draining you dry and not supporting your dreams and ideas. A friendship is a balance. That means sometimes you won’t be on the receiving end, but if you are never on the receiving end, then you may want to re-evaluate the relationship. Which is no longer a friendship.

It’s hard to reconsider, and it’s easy to claim loyalty as a part of friendship, but a real friendship is a bond that is stretchable, not brittle. It floats, it doesn’t hold either party down. And it grows and changes as both of you grow and change.

Walking away is a hard road, but sometimes it’s necessary to your health, soul, and heart.

-Quinn McDonald is deeply happy that her friends put up with her.

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8 thoughts on “Friends In Your Life

  1. Most of us have a set of “rules” for the friends in our lives. If they follow those rules we keep them, if they don’t …well…they become someone else’s friend. Not many of us consider our responsibilities as a friend, honesty, compassion, loyalty and more. Friendship is more about what we are willing to give a relationship than what we get but most of the time it’s considered the other way around in our minds. Perhaps that’s why many marriages fail. Being a good friend or partner is work and sacrifice with the expectation that the other person will do the same. When those expectations become unbalanced is when the friendship usually ends.
    The interesting thing about friendships is that they can be picked up again. Your life gets busy and there just isn’t time, and then suddenly there is. Those are friendships to cherish. Sitting with a friend I haven’t seen in months or even years and feeling like we were never apart is a friendship to treasure. I’m not a good “every day” friend. My friends know that. It’s one of my rules.

  2. I agree w/ your premise & analysis about friendships but not about your comment about marriage/partnership – i think most women believe that marriage/partnership is a ‘forever thing’ – that the vows they take or promises they make are real & that the couple will b together always – and i would like 2 think those vows r sacred & meaningful & wiill serve as the glue 2 hold a couple 2gether – but thats part of the problem because the reality in todays world most will breakup just as you stated – and often we naively bring those same thoughts 2 friendships – when either marriage or friendships end it is a loss that takes time 2 heal no matter who leaves who – its a loss we are grieving – good points in ur article – thnx!

  3. “Oh yes”, and “oh yes” again and again as I read this post. Friends do generally come and go depending on circumstances. There are some that last for much longer usually forged in the fires of adversity . . . and then there’s the fresh new ones, when you meet someone and feel like there is something more afoot than what is on the surface. I believe we have things to learn from one anothother and meet the right people at the right time.

    To me, a firend is someone I can ring at any time day or night and they’ll be there, and they know they can do the same. I have a few of those wonderful close friends and a load of people I’m friendly with . . . there’s a big difference.

    And yes, I’m grateful that my friends put up with me too and there have been times when I have needed them.

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