Life Changes And Friends

 

Don’t (necessarily) let life changes affect the friendship.

It amazes me how many friendships have ended after a friend got married (and the other was single), or had a baby (and the other was still childless), etc. 

For me, it has mostly happened when someone moved on to the next life stage up from me and (apparently), no longer found me or my life interesting. It could also happen the other way where maybe someone wouldn’t be interested in being friends with me after I moved to the next life stage from them (thankfully this hasn’t happened to me yet).

Sometimes this is just the natural flow of things – people go in different directions, life drifts you apart . . . and sometimes that’s just the way it is, and it’s okay. If you were brought together in a friendship because you were in a similar situation (same work, school, etc.), and then you no longer have that in common, those friendships probably will fade – and it’s okay, because they were there in the season that you needed each other.

But what I’m talking about is friends that are more than that – friendships that weren’t just based on situation.  There are some friends that you connect with because they are just a lot like you, you have a camaraderie that isn’t only related to you being in the same class together.  And I think it’s a pity to let those friendships end because of life changes.

I think if you really care about keeping a certain friendship you do not have to let this happen. You can’t control whether the other person is going to let life changes affect the friendship (and sometimes there really is nothing you can do about it). But you can control your own attitude on it.

If your friend gets married or has a baby, don’t all of a sudden decide you can’t relate to her or she can’t relate to you anymore. Be there and be happy for her. Your turn will come.

When you get married, don’t drop all your single friends and find new married ones. When you have a baby, don’t drop all your childless friends because they aren’t in the same life situation as you anymore. If you do that, you will miss out on the joy and excitement that comes when your old friends do finally get married/have babies!

Sure, the friendship will be different for a little while after one person goes through a big life change like this.  But I think with the friends that really matter, that’s when you find a new “normal”, and you make that work for you.  People don’t stay the same – they grow and change, and friendships are going to grow and change too.  And it’s not necessarily a bad thing – the friendship shouldn’t have to die.  The good ones will just adapt.

friendship

via*

I don’t think it’s necessarily a good thing if all of a person’s friends are in the exact same life situation as they are. Either they have incredible luck and all of their friends moved on to the next life stage at the exact same time, or they might be missing out on or might have lost some potentially great friendships with girls who aren’t in their exact same situation. And I think that’s kind of sad.

What do you think?  Have you had friendship end because of life changes?  Were you okay with that, or were there some you would have liked to keep?

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Other posts (of mine) in this series:

On Friendships That End

Starting A Friendship

Making Conversation

Maintenance Of Friendship





*I found this image on Pinterest, but it was not linked to the original source.  If anyone ever comes across this post and knows where this image originally came from, can you let me know so I can give proper credit?  Thanks!

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7 comments

  1. I am going through this exact situation with my friend from college. She was in our wedding, involved with Brayden, but I have only seen her once in the last year. And actually, every time I text/try to call/email? She never responds. It seriously hurts. I just don't know what else I can do.

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  2. This was an awesome post! I just shared it on facebook and twitter! So glad I read it! :)

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  3. This was a painful reality for me. I met my husband my second week of college and we got serious fast. Our parents and his friends were happy for us, but most of my friends were not OK with it. I don't know if it was some jealousy or if they just really didn't approve. But especially after we got engaged the summer of freshman year I just met a lot of raised eyebrows (from girls). I think it's really hard for single girls to be happy for married ones. Especially if they're not totally content in their singleness. And the same goes for babies too! I've usually been on the "moving on" end, so my advice to the other side would be to embrace your friend's changes! Learn from her marriage. Consider her baby to be good practice for you. My most successful friendships with single girls have been with ones who made an effort to get to know my husband, too.

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  4. I think this post is so important because it's important to know that for a little bit it *might* be different and it *might* take more work but that there will be a new normal if both people work at it. I had this happen with one of my friends when I had a baby, but thankfully we didn't give up and pushed through the sort-of-awkward figure it out period. Now our friendship is better than ever, but it could have died if we had just given up. Good post, friend :)

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  5. Great post! I've had it go both ways..had a bf in high school totally bail on me when I was about to get married (think..she was asked to be my maid of honor and backed out 2 weeks before the wedding!)..but..real 'true' friends dont do that to a person..so I was glad that friendship ended..even though it ended badly. My bff now..we are on totally different lifestages..I'm married w/a child and she's never been married and childless..but we make it work! Its definately the quality of the friendships that matters most!

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  6. The thing I find the hardest is if you're no longer able to see your old friends as much as you used to due to changes. I've tried to keep up to date as much as possible with friends from where we used to live but I used to work with most of them and see them every single day. We're like family so it's sad that we now miss out on the day-to-day goings on.

    To be honest, for quite a lot of my adult life I've been in different life situations from my friends. We got married early and most of our friends were single students. Now they're all getting married and we're having babies! Thankfully we've met lots of families in our new city so at least we have that support.

    Did you find having a baby put strain on your friendships? I don't want to lose my identity and just become a 'parent'! We sometimes go away with a group of old university friends in the Spring and this year one of the people there said (not a close friend) 'oh, well you won't need to be invited next year now you're having a baby will you?'. It's true - we probably won't be able to go but I still don't want to stop being invited to everything!!

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  7. If I had only been friends with people in the same phase of their life as me, then I probably wouldn't have had any friends. Once I moved home after college, I was the last person in my group of "local" friends to get married and start a family, but I was the first of my "long-distance" friends to get married and have a baby. It wasn't always easy because I could quickly start to feel left out, but I persevered and my friendships are still intact.

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