So many of my friendships, maybe in fact all of them, were developed out of convenience to some degree.
There are the friends I made in childhood, who, conveniently lived nearby and went to the same schools. There are the friends I made at various workplaces, who, conveniently got paid to be in the same building as me every day! (Yay, thanks “employer” for buying me some friends! Lol) There are the friends who had babies around the same time as I did, and were conveniently placed in the same mothers group as me, because we all lived conveniently nearby. There are the friends I met at the local playgroup, who all attended based on its convenience, locality and cheap price tag! There are the parents of my children’s friends and classmates, who all conveniently go to the same school, generally live in the same area and play in the same parks and shop at the same convenience shops.
I don’t like this theme of convenience, however, I accept its presence and its important role in making friends. I never would have met these people if it wasn’t convenient. Obviously, convenience is only half the battle. We don’t make friends with every person it is convenient to be friends with, because we may not spark well with them, and because being friends with everyone would be inconvenient!
I do know that in school and work settings the convenience factor was huge, and it meant that putting in much effort outside of work or school wasn’t completely necessary. For that reason many of those friendships didn’t last past the end date of the study or employment. It is almost like, in those settings; we often don’t realise the lack of effort we put in until it’s over, and because the pattern was lack of effort, it can be easy to stay true to that.
That is where I start to feel sad when it comes to the convenience factor in friendships, because I start to realise what a huge role it really plays in our lives and how it impacts the roles of certain important people in it. I can recall some instances when a friendship became too inconvenient for me to keep it going, and the effort to maintain it outweighed the rewards of doing so. In those situations it felt only natural and logical to let the friendship end through lack of effort then blame circumstance over choice. I did have a choice though, didn’t I? I made it, and I justified it. We all do.
I can’t say I am too happy when I find myself on the receiving end of this treatment from others. This is especially true if the other person made the changes and they were outside of my control. If they left the job for example, and I didn’t, why should I be the one to make the effort to keep in touch? If they wanted to, they would, right? (Wrong!) Too many friendships are lost by this train of thought. Really, the person who made changes probably has more stuff going on and less time to reach out, so you probably should make more effort, not less. Or even some effort at all. What have you done to show your friend you still want them in your life? (I didn’t ask what they had done, but what YOU had. We can only control ourselves remember.)
When my closest friend moved away I was unprepared for the changes it brought to our friendship, because suddenly I was less convenient for her than I had been before. It hurts, I won’t lie. I took it pretty personally. I never stopped to consider just how big a factor “convenience” was in our friendship, and it was an ugly feeling that I allowed to take away from a beautiful feeling of friendship that had existed before. Logically speaking, of course it was convenient, that is how friendships are born; where the seeds are planted. Emotionally though, I thought our connection was based on so much more, I believed it was deep enough that nothing as small as convenience would stand in its way. Convenience; I underestimated you!
I am sure my friend doesn’t mean to pull way, and she would likely blame it on circumstance that we have drifted apart somewhat. And she’d be annoyingly right about that…. Still….we both have a choice, don’t we? We can allow circumstance to make our friendship inconvenient, and let it fade because neither of us “has time” to put in the effort, or we can make the effort anyway, and work patiently with whatever reserves of convenience are left, (however small) and find other ways to reach out.
My friend would also probably point out that I have not really put much effort into this friendship since she moved away either, and she’d be annoyingly right about that too. She was the one who made the changes, and I do my best to fit in with her when she can offer me some of her time, however I almost never reach out to her myself anymore. I justify this by claiming she is always so busy, it feels like rejection when she can’t respond to my messages let alone meet up, and also that I don’t want to bother her or pressure her to hang out. I want her to want this as much as I do, based on the emotional connection we share, regardless of convenience.
It’s a valid point, and so is her busy lifestyle as a justification, but that doesn’t make “no effort” the choice I want to make. She is important to me and my actions should be a reflection of this. They haven’t really been to be honest. Instead of writing this blog, what I should be doing right now is making an effort to keep in touch with my friend and show her I am thinking of her. I can’t make all the effort. I can’t make this friendship work on my own, but as I write this I realise; neither can she. It takes 2 to make it work and it is high time I started putting in some effort where I didn’t have to before, or convenience will be the death of us, and that will have been just as much my choice as hers.
Take responsibility for your choices ladies, and make sure your actions represent your values. If you value your friendship, what have you done to show it? If convenience is still the death of your friendship, at least you will be able to look back and know it wasn’t your choice, and accept that perhaps she never acknowledged it was a choice at all.
Your Best Friend ForNever