When I married my husband, I repeatedly got advice that marriage is work. We had been dating for years, but somehow my advisors didn’t think I knew relationships take work. All relationships.
We all have friends that are more work than others. Some you can hang out with and the conversation, fun and laughter flow easily. They are there for you, no questions asked. You are there for them. You share each other’s highs and lows. You end each other’s sentences. It’s all good.
Other friends are a little more work. Whether the cause is the friend’s (or your) flare for the dramatic, conflicting points of view or a number of other things, they are just more work. Not less worthwhile, just more work.
Those are the basic relationship categories. Then, there’s life.
As we get older, spouses, pets, children and other family members start to take up more of our time. We have date nights, take our dogs to the veterinarians, care for children and aging relatives. All of those things are time consuming.
Over the last few years as more and more friends start families of their own, I’ve seen links pop up on their Facebook news feeds about how much they appreciate their friends sticking with them while they “suck at being a friend right now.”
The blog posts they share are written by mothers of young children and focus on how all-consuming motherhood and family life can be. There is always something that needs to be done — laundry, cooking, cleaning, caregiving, school activities, etc. They’re right, there is always something that needs done. And, their right, they are not always as available as they used to be.
Just because they cannot sporadically join a group for a beer after work doesn’t make them bad friends. In all reality, if I really needed something, I mean really needed a friend, I know they’d be there for me.
Relationships take work. That’s true of relationships with family, friends and spouses.
This weekend I’ll get to reconnect with three friends that I haven’t seen for more than a passing few minutes in the grocery store. When I first moved to Sheridan nearly 10 years ago, they were the group of friends I landed with. They accepted and welcomed me. Then, life happened.
One friend moved away, two friends had children. What used to be monthly or at least quarterly girls nights have disappeared. Text messages are few and far between.
But, this weekend, the four of us will share a bottle of wine and catch up on each other’s lives.
We’re not bad friends, we’re just busy. Other aspects of our lives have required more attention and more work. We knew our friendships weren’t going anywhere. They’d be there for us when we returned. I look forward to the reunion.