This article in the New York Times style section today made me stop and think about the nature of my friendships and how they are changing. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/15/fashion/the-challenge-of-making-friends-as-an-adult.html?ref=style
I thought it was wrong about some things, however. Are your best friends throughout life the ones you make in high school and college? I think that’s unlikely, unless you all stay in the same area, have the same educational and financial circumstances, and see each other often. Like the article says, proximity and time to build a friendship are essential. If you move away, things change. It’s easier to make close friendships when you are in high school and college, but that doesn’t mean they will stand the test of time.
All of us have work friends, neighbor friends, friends we share interests with, and for people with families, your kids’ friends and their families. How does that progress to become the friend you call when your mother dies, or that you can ask to feed the cat, or the friend you can wake up at 2 a.m., or the one who will take you home from the hospital?
My closest friends now began as acquaintances, work friends, or people I met because we shared an interest. It took years in most cases before they became intimate friends. We helped each other out and learned we could count on each other. We learned we had fun together but that our relationships didn’t have to be only fun and games.
And what do you do when those relationships begin to change? Some people get busier. Others, while still working, are no longer working full-time and are away for weeks at a time on vacation or travel. Some get richer, some get poorer, some are unemployed. It’s difficult when you’re no longer all at the same level and able to afford the same things.
All I know to do is to try to share new experiences with good friends as well as remembering the past, and to try to stay flexible as circumstances change–and try not to be hurt if close friends become a little more distant. And I keep an eye out for potential new friends at “entry level.” You never know if you’ll find another BFF. And life is too lonely without people who are more than just casual friends.