On friendships

When Dave and I were moving I discovered one of those large collage frames tucked away behind a dresser. It still had pictures in the individual slots, put there right after my college graduation (I think). It was funny to take the frame out, and look at the pictures behind the glass.  And in looking at them, I realized that I have lost touch with a lot of the people featured in this frame.

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I’ve come to realize that I’m not one of those people who carries the same group of friends with me through my life. Dave is. His main group of guys (and some girls) are from high school.  They’ve all stayed connected for around 15 years. Other friends of mine have these groups too.  I have a handful of friends from each part of my life – high school, college, summer camp, blogging of course. Am I missing some innate part of me that doesn’t allow me to  be a part of a hardcore group of friends for all the years of my life?  Now, this isn’t to say that I don’t have longtime friends.  Arielle and Allison I’ve known since kindergarten and 3rd grade, without a lapse in our friendship.  Two of my bridesmaids, Annie and Chase, I have now known for eight and nine years, respectively, after being their RA in college.  So it’s clearly in me to maintain friendships for a long time.  But I’m not a part of a group like the Girls from Ames. But is there a reason that this ability to maintain friendships for a long time doesn’t translate to a tight-knit group of friends?  It’s not as if any falling-outs occurred with those groups I used to be a part of, just a lack of staying in touch from both sides.  (I am definitely not above saying that the lack of staying in touch was one-sided.) These old friends and I might be friends on Facebook, and send that yearly “happy birthday!” message to each other, but that’s as far as it goes.  A far cry from late nights out, hanging out in dorm rooms, roaming the neighborhood stores and crowding into someone’s basement to watch movies.

101_0008Which side of the line do you fall on? Do you have that core group of friends that you’ve known since childhood? A few good friends from different areas of your life? I’m interested in hearing what makes up your friendships.

Comments

  1. I’ve never been one to have a core group of friends. In fact, I have some trouble maintaining friendships – I don’t know what it is. My high school friends turned against me; my college friends decided I was too insecure. I’ve come a long way since then, but at this point, no one’s making BFFs, you know? It’s tough to find a “group” in your late 20s.

  2. I moved around so much as a kid due to my Dad being in the Army, I didn’t settle into a group of friends until middle school. Of my core friends from high school I’m still friends with, I can’t say we were all that close in school but became closer right after. Surprisingly, I am not really friends with my teammates from high school that I spent four years running with, but the friends I had in my advanced academic classes. Maybe the intellectual thing kept us together?

    From college, I am closest to about five or six girls. I’m not really close to anyone else anymore, since it has been four years since graduation. These girls were mostly my running teammates, who I met my very first day there. I’m happy to say we stick together.

    Locally, I have one or two girlfriends that I see regularly, and that’s it! I really think with girls you tend to drift apart more than guys… when you have major life changes like getting married, having kids, a new job, a new city, you tend to have different interests, which is what I wrote about in my Mommy vs. Non-Mommy blog series recently. With guys, they have the luxury of basically keeping the same identity/interests through life, instead of being slapped with a label like career woman/mother/housewife/etc.

    For me, location is the biggest issue. I went to high school, college, and started my career in different states. That makes an impact on friendships.

    Women want to be with people they can relate to, and over time we mature differently and go in directions that turn former BFFs into mere acquaintances.

  3. I read, but hardly comment.

    I ask myself the same question often, and have battled with whether or not I’m not the type of person that my friends value enough to keep in touch with. Granted, I’m awful about making an effort to stay in contact (even with my very best friends, I look and usually it’s them who sends the random email, text, etc.) but I’ve never had a “big group” and I think very much when women go through life changes, it’s harder (or maybe we don’t try as hard) to stay in touch.

    Getting in a long term serious relationship? few friendships faded out there- because I didn’t have a huge interest in going to crowded loud bars every Friday and Saturday to pick up strangers.

    Grad school? few friendships faded there too- don’t have tons of time to just hang out anymore, it’s devoted to school or just relaxing alone

    I have one friend i’ve known since we were babies, one from middle school (who didn’t go to my middle school but we met then), one I met in college randomly, ZERO of the people that actually went to my college (which makes me sad, daily), one I met at work in college (who did go to my college but we weren’t “college friends” in the traditional sense), and one from law school who I consider my core group. The good thing is, they have mostly all met, know about each other, and get along, and I often forget how differently I met each one.

    I spend a good amount of time wondering if something is wrong with me, or being sad I don’t have a huge high school/college group-(or at least two people from any one area of my life) like my boyfriend, who is best friends to this date with everyone he met almost 10 years ago as freshmen in college- they lived on the same floor..and now all their girlfriends/fiances/wives, myself included, are forging friendships.

    but I think about it, and I’m perfectly happy with my quirky handful of friends who each know different things about me, know a different “side” of me, and who I can blend with in different ways.

  4. Lacey, I am just like you! I have a handful of friends from childhood, a few from high school, a few from college, and friends from work. I don’t have a group of friends. I’ve always thought something was odd with me about that I didn’t have a “group” like so many of my other friends do.

    Yay that I’m not alone! 🙂

  5. Maybe it is a guy thing? My husband is the EXACT same way. His best buddies are all from growing up in NH. He has some friends from college, but he isn’t as close with them.

    Meanwhile, I have 0 close friends from growing up, a few from high school, a bunch from college and some more from law school. I think that at least for women, if you don’t see someone a lot (aka wine nights) it’s harder to stay close. The best thing for me was to see friends from different times in my life become friends through my bachelorette party and my wedding!

  6. I’m like you – I have a few friends from each stage. I think it has something to do with the fact that we moved a lot, so I was always the outsider. I like that I have friends all over the world. While we may not see each other on a regular basis, when we do things just fall back into place and it’s like we were never apart.

    But at the same time, it feels kind of weird to have to introduce everyone when I have a party or go out for my birthday or whatever. Especially when a couple of my best friends seem to fall into the “core group of friends” category. It brings back that first-day-of-school feeling when I go to one of THEIR parties and everyone knows each other already…

  7. I have a handful of friends that are my core friends-we have known each other for about 12 years. We met in middle school and have seen each other through the ups and downs of the years. So yes, I have the core group of friends but I don’t really venture out of my group too much which is something I wish I did more of

  8. My early friendships always ended after a certain amount of time. My chilldhood friendships faded when I went to private high school (even though I still lived in the same house, five minutes from a lot of those people). My high school friendships have mostly faded, save for the girl who attended the same college as I did. I’ve only been out of college for two years, but so far, the friendships I made there are still very much intact. And those friendships feel different – they feel like the close bonds that people usually have with friends they’ve had their whole lives. I’m grateful to have found such beautiful and strong friendships because I always thought I never would.

  9. I’ve only had one friend who I counted as my best friend and who I’ve known since I was 13 and that’s Jen, my wife! So I am definitely one of those girls that has a hard time keeping friendships alive. Jen and I worked three seasonal jobs with ah-mazing people and we all promised to stay in touch and we never did. :/ Through blogging, I’ve made some KICK ASS friends and I’m hoping we stay in touch. 😀

    You seem awesome online and off, so I doubt it’s anything you’ve done. It’s probably just life getting in the way!

  10. I am definitely of the few groups of friends from different times of my life… I have like 20 “Best” friends.

    There are times that this is awesome, because – duh, who doesn’t want to have a gazillion friends and 20 best friends, but there are definitely times that I find myself feeling left out because I lack a strong “core” group.

    I feel like I should also admit that I think it’s kinda weird when people haven’t branched out since high school.

  11. I have both. I have a group of girls since high school, a few since college and a few from my adult life. I think its good to have a mix. xxoo

  12. Like Suburban Sweetheart said, I too have trouble maintaining friendships. My husband’s friends are great — there’s the two guys he met in Cub Scouts, the funky free spirits he hung out with in high school, and the group of amazing college guys who accepted me as one of their own our junior year. But for me? I have one high school friend but all my college friends (as in, all six of my bridesmaids) lost touch (aka didn’t invite me on their yearly vacations… and yes I’m hurt). I have a few grad school friends, but the situation is so temporary that it seems like a wasted effort to try too hard. I have a couple of work friends from previous jobs, but they’re not as close as I’d like to be. (Plus they’re both 15 years older than me… which is awesome but can be weird.)

    So basically, my blog friends have been some of the most constant people in my life for the past three to four years. Which is pretty awesome if you ask me.

  13. I’ve got friends from different parts of my life, but no group I’ve known forever. I have friends from high school and even middle school but the groups I once found myself in are long disbanded. I move a lot, so maybe that’s it, but it’s also tough to make really good, lasting friendships that stand the test of time, especially forging those sorts of relationships with whole groups of people. Ones and twos I can handle, but forming life-long bonds with a whole giant group? That just seems daunting.

  14. I don’t exactly have a core group of friends, as I was always in several different groups! I still do have some friends from each era of my life, so to speak, but it isn’t as though they all know each other, much less are friends! While moving recently, I found a few of those same frames, with the cutouts for pictures. I changed out some of the pics and rehung them, minus the few people that are no longer frame-worthy, hehe!

  15. I don’t necessarily have the quintessential “core” of friends. As Lexi states above, I fall more into the category of belonging to many different “groups” of friends. And from these groups a few people have becoming very close friends of mine.

    In any case, be my BFF. I’m loyal and I smell nice.

  16. I have always had a core group of friends, but they’re not the same core group that they used to be. My current core group is a motley crew of various people I’ve collected who just so happen to get along well. (I am the glue for the group, a fact which I am very proud of, even though I’m not necessarily each of their favorite person in the group anymore. Two of the guys are the best friends I’ve ever seen and obviously prefer the other to me, but they didn’t know each other until I invited the one to come to a few of our get togethers.) In college it was my roommates, but after college we all more or less moved so far apart that it was impossible for it to be my core group anymore,although occasionally we get together still. In high school I had a totally different group, but I moved halfway across the country for college and never came back, so that obviously wasn’t my core group post-graduation.

    But next weekend I’m flying back towards my hometown for a wedding for someone from my high school group. I am a bridesmaid. Two of the other bridesmaids were also part of our high school group. Other members of our former group will be in attendance. It’s going to be the most amazing weekend I’ve had in awhile because we’re going to all be together again and it’s going to be an epic reunion. I cannot wait. And that’s the perfect kind of group of friends. When you can all scatter to the ends of the earth, but when you come back it’s still just as good, even if it’s obviously not exactly the same.

  17. I’m definitely similar to you in this! I think part of it is that I’m a better friend one-on-one than in a large group. But part of me wishes I did have some big group of girlfriends. I have to say I read Girls from Ames, and felt a little jealous because I wished I could have been part of a large group like that.

  18. Maintaining friendships is hard. I have had different groups of friends throughout my life but not one that has stuck around forever. I’ve realized lately that sometimes friendships just grow apart and it’s ok. I find that I am best with people that are right in front of me. Keeping up via telephone is hard and most of my friends are not regular internet chatters. I do my best to maintain them though. I send cards when I think of them and get together whenever we are in the same city. Even that doesn’t always seem like enough though. Maybe there isn’t any one secret.

  19. I have a lot of long term friends, but not one big group of long term friends. I think that some of it is that the logistics of getting a big group of people together are just really tough.

  20. I have 2 or 3 best friends that I’ve known since elementary school. Other than that my friends have changed a lot depending on my life stage/where I’m living. However, I’ve recently come to realize that my friends for life are the girls I shared my college years with. They’re all in DC still and it’s been a very hard few months trying to function without them. I’ve learned that once you find your core group, hang on to them as hard as you can.

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  1. […] have two good friends from college, but I feel like I’m a loser when it comes to friendships. I’ve written about this before and the sucky feelings and doubts still plague me to this day. I did have a big realization […]

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