So I have been contemplating friendships and being there for each other through the big things in each other’s lives. The people we turn to when in crisis. It says a lot about your friendship if you feel able to lean on someone when life just gets too heavy.
I certainly do have friends I turn to in times of need, regardless of how much we have seen or spoken to one another in the interim. These are the friends who you know you can call on when times get tough, and they will be there for you no matter what. While these friends are worth their weight in gold, they aren’t necessarily the only people you turn to even though you can, and they aren’t even necessarily the first people you turn to.
Fortunately, awful, difficult, heavy life situations, bring budding new closeness in friendships with unexpected people as a real silver lining! You know the lady you catch up for coffee with once a week before you do your grocery shopping? Or the ladies you chat to as you pick up your kids from school? The ones you don’t necessarily consider friends, more acquaintances that you see fairly often? More often than not THESE people are the first to know.
They say it takes on average, 80 hours of time spent together for a friendship to develop. So without realizing it, these people are becoming your friends. They see you often enough to interpret body language, facial expressions and general demeanor. When something seems off with you, they are probably the first people to notice and to ask. Due to frequency and proximity, they may even be with you when you get the not so great news, whatever it is.
Before the day is done perhaps, you may notice that you have told many people, and none of them were the people who you felt you would definitely turn to. That’s not to say you wont turn to them. You probably will. However when they ask if there is anything they can do for you, you might already find an unexpected army of new friends already doing it for them.
The friends you can always count on are usually long standing friends. They have put in the hours already at some previous point in your life and have often moved away, literally or figuratively. You probably always boast to each other how great it is that you can rely on one another any time for any thing without much need for connection or communication in the gaps. That is indeed true and I wont take away from that.
That said, in those gaps is where we find the people who are there for the little things and not just the big ones. We never have to “catch up” with these people because they are already actively involved and around in our day to day business. They are the ones who know we dropped the kids off for school in our pj’s this morning and the ones who know we had the inlaws over for dinner last week, and how stressful that was. It’s probably not something you spoke to your “big things” friend because the semantics of daily life aren’t your thing anymore. You feel you don’t NEED to keep in touch like that, so you kinda don’t bother.
The problem with this approach is that it can lessen your closeness. You start to question what is more valuable…. Someone who is there for the big stuff or someone who is there for the little stuff? In my experience, the truest friendships seem to be the ones who are around for all the stuff. The ones who make the effort to at least communicate fairly regularly just for the sake of interest in what is or isn’t happening with you and to keep you similarly informed with regards to their own happenings.
Of course, turning to new people is a beautiful wonderful thing, especially when you learn that there are potential new close friendships you never imagined waiting to blossom at any moment all around you. Just don’t let these new friendships create even more space between you and your other older steady friends. This can cause jealousies and resentments to flare that neither of you even knew were an issue before.
Your older friends may feel unneeded and resentful that you didn’t turn to them or that they weren’t the first to know, to which you may feel resentful and snap back that they are never around anymore so you didn’t think they cared. The issue isn’t one sided usually, it’s just that you have both dropped the ball a bit on the little things. Blaming each other is less helpful than acknowledging the issue and what you are going to do to change it.
Essentially, big things are made out of a million little things and that includes friendships, so don’t neglect or overlook the importance of the little things unless you want big issues down the road.
What are your thoughts on this? Have you made any little mistakes that turned into big friendship problems or made any little confessions that turned into unexpected big friendships?
Your best Friend ForNever