I’ve been hearing from many of my acquaintances on a subject that has sent them reeling and left them feeling betrayed. They are telling me that they are losing friendships of many years, for reasons other than the painfully obvious and darkly funny, such as death.
Some friendships are fading due to distance; people move away and the power of geography does the rest. Others are tested and failed by the differences in how lives are lived: children, jobs, other interests and other concerns squeeze the space once occupied by friendship down to nothing. Sometimes words get in the way; misunderstandings via phone call, text, Tweet or email results in hurt feelings and silence on both sides. The silence can go on for months, even years, to the point where no one remembers why it began in the first place.
Some of the most poignant comments have come from friends who have no idea why their friendships ended. Nothing was ever really said that made anyone mad; no one moved; no one appeared to be jealous or upset. Sometimes people simply stopped speaking to one another. I wonder if any of these folks ever considered that adult friendships, like those with your childhood best buddies, can simply serve their purpose and run their course. Perhaps there is not, and should not, be room for an infinite number of friends in our lives. Our “inner circle” should be just that: a small gathering of people we know, love, respect and understand, and who feel the same way about us. But that inner circle should not consist of chain link. There should be room for movement in and out, essentially maintaining the size, while bringing in new perspectives.
I’ve never been the sort of person who has BFFs, or galpals, or a “ladies’ night out” posse. I don’t go to bars or spas. I rarely shop and go to a beauty salon only when necessary. Most of my close friends are men; my inner circle certainly has a lot of muscle! As the years have progressed, I see my inner circle as the innermost ring on my life’s target, with myself in the middle. But I know there are strangers out there, simply friends I have yet to meet, who will become part of my inner circle one day. It’s not about losing friendships, it’s about making room for new ones.