My biggest lesson in post-grad life: you have to nourish relationships–and it’s not always easy. I’ve divided my friendships into distinct categories that have helped me think about friendship and moving on in the “real world.”
There are friends who always check in or call me regularly, and I reach out to them an equal amount. These are what I call my natural “give and take” friendships. Occasionally, these fall out of balance during a particularly busy time; a move across the country, a newfound romance, or the holidays–but all in all, steady, easy back and forth. These are few and far between!
Another category of friendship is one that is highly prioritized and requires scheduling to maintain. I have to schedule time with some of these people weeks out, or we likely will never talk. It’s not because one of us doesn’t care–our schedules are simply different or we are in different time zones. For example, one works odd hours in Eastern time and his weekends don’t always line up with the regular work week.
The third category are my “fly by” friends. These are people who I don’t talk to often, and it’s typically brief when we do talk, but they provide support, meaning, and true friendship even in those short interactions. I love these friendships dearly because they exemplify how small interactions can feel so profound and connecting.
There are some people that I’ve learned to let go. Some friends were wonderful friends during the time and place of college. People I grabbed a meal with, went to a party with, or studied for a class with–these are the people who were convenient friends. Still true friends, but not the people I would go pick out of a crowd. I often miss these people and shoot them a text or quick call, but I don’t think much of it. It’s painful sometimes, but it’s a necessary part of moving forward.
Looking back, there are very few friends who I’ve totally lost touch with. Even in college, I was well aware of the importance of maintaining relationships; I had lunch plans with a different person everyday to keep up with the people who mattered to me. I definitely gave my mother to thank for teaching me this lesson early on; she was nearly always on the phone with her friends (scattered all over the country) and taught me the value of friendship from an early age.
Have you kept up with your friends? Do your friendship categories look like mine?