Friendships are hard because each friend has her own set of expectations based on her life experiences, life circumstances and personal needs.
Lately, as I have been coaching my teens on their friendships, it has caused me to analyze my own friendships.
It pains me to say it, but at times I fall short of what it means to be a caring friend. Try as I might there are times when I get so focused on my life, the needs of my family and my responsibilities that I let a friend down.
And that makes me very sad.
As I have tried to analyze why I manage to be such a thoughtless friend at times I think I may have deduced a portion of the problem. Upon graduation from college I moved away from my family. I learned that the only way I could survive separation from them was to compartmentalize my relationship with them. When I am with them and speak with them I am fully with them. When I am not with them or don’t speak with them for a while that does not lessen my love for them, it just means that when life is busy, they hear less from me. When life slows down again we connect and pick up right where we left off.
In my mind I have always felt that even close friendships are the same way. I so enjoy being with friends, building relationships, playing hard and loving fully when I am with friends. But not spending time with or talking with friends for days or even weeks at a time does not lessen my relationship with them, at least not as far as I am concerned.
However, I am learning everyone does not see things the way I do. Some friends really need a more consistent connection or they begin to wonder if the friendship is faltering, or if there is some sort of problem.
Bottom line…communication of expectations and needs is key, that and a healthy measure of understanding towards each other and the realization that the way we view friendships may be different…not wrong, just different.
Am I making any sense to anyone out there? Please share your thoughts with me!