Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The evolution of friendship.

I was at the dentist this morning and she asked how I was doing. So I told her I had been stressed lately and broke a molar because of that. She was curious what I was stressed about. There are big things happening in my life. One of those things is registering the gallery at the chamber of commerce. It's such a grown up thing to do. We came to the conclusion that we are both turning 35 this summer. It's a strange thought. I really am a grown up, an adult, making grown up, responsible decisions about grown up topics. How does that happen? It just does. You grow up and become an adult. It happens to most of us.

But we all have our own pace, and some of us get stuck on different levels, or move much faster then others around them. Suddenly, when you are talking to some of your friends about the thing that are important to you at that point, you notice the y don't respond as enthusiastic as you expected. This seems strange at first because you used to be able to share so much with that person and you felt like you both could really relate to each other. And now, the enthusiasm simply isn't there. You take a look at your life,  your friends life, and the life you used to have together, and come to the conclusion you have grown apart. It happens. There is nothing you can do about it. It happens to most of the people you because friends with then you were younger. 

There is a very simple reason for this. Take a look at your life, your world. You have orchestrated it in a way that fits your personality, who you are. That means you now, starting around your thirties, you will be living in a city you like, and, if all is well, in the right part of that city. You will be working in the field you like, maybe even have the dream job you really want. You will have developed habits that suit you and found hobbies you enjoy. And with that comes a circle of friends who you have met at those places. But you have chosen those places. And that's the trick.

I have friends who have kids and I see it happening. The other day I was at a venue and some friends where there with their son, he's almost 10 I think. There was someone else with a kid around the same age. So people expected them to play together. Simply because they were the same age and in the same place. That was the only thing they had in common, age and a location determined by their parents. Same goes for school. Your parents chose your school when you are little, because they think it is a good school and easy to reach. You get stuck with 30 kids without knowing if you have anything in common with them. You do though and that is mostly the fact that you don't know who you are and what you want yet. You still have to develop most of your personality, discover yourself. And this takes time, trial and error. So you do this together. You experiment, try new things and see if you like them or not. If you're lucky you will have a few kids in your class that have the same interest as you do and you can explore the same fields together. But as you grow older you become more specific in your likes and dislikes. You may still have common likes or dislikes, but you might find you have different motivation for them. Or you can find out that some of the things you liked, you don't like at all. You just thought you did because people expected you to for what ever reason. 

At some point in your teens you think you have it all figured out, not realizing that half of what you are thinking is a reaction to your parents. You also have no idea yet how the world really works. I mean, driving an ice cream truck may sound great, but can be rather dull in real life. And having to go out there, facing those noisy kids when you are having a bad day, and it's raining on top of that.... Nobody wants that. But when your young it sounds like a dream. Reality hits and things turn out to be different. Some people will stick to what they thought they wanted because reality is close enough to their dreams, or maybe even better. Some people take a different path. And your roads split and you say goodbye. Or maybe you don't and you find yourself talking to that person and wondering why they are giving you such a funny look like they have no idea what you are talking about. It's because they don't. It's because you are both not 16 anymore and you have grown up. And you have changed. 

We tend to hold on to friendships simply because they have lasted a long time already. Not because of the quality. I'm not saying it's always the case, but it might be more often then we think. The question is, do we really want to hold on to those people or is it time to move on? Would it not be better to save yourself and the other the time trying to understand each other because you feel like you have to simply because you have know each other since you were kids. 

It can also happen the other way around. You can have grown apart, let each other go, and run into each other for what ever reason again, only to come to the conclusion that you are more compatible now then you are the last time you saw each other. it's strange when those thing happen but they do. But be careful, just because you used to know each other really well, doesn't mean you know each other now. Take the time to get to know the new person that your old friend grew into. And try not to hold a grudge. 


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