If you think back over the last five, ten even twenty years or more of your life, there are probably people who have fallen by the wayside. Friendships which at one time were so important to you, people you spoke to, laughed with and confided in day after day now feel like a distant memory, and that can be hard to swallow.
As you transition from carefree lady of leisure to being responsible for keeping tiny humans alive (and yourself too for that matter) the sudden change can be a bitter pill to swallow, as it seems so much of your life seems unrecognisable from before. But in reality, friendships fizzling out is probably nothing new, otherwise we’d all still be hob nobbing with little Lucy Smith*, your best friend when you were five years old.
“Half life; the amount of time taken for any specified property to decay to half of it’s original quantity”.
There are so many things which can impact relationships between friends – the big question here, is do they have to?
So much of your social life is heavily bound to your given stage and circumstances. Having worked at the same business for almost fifteen years, I could have listed endless names of those I counted as good friends; people I loved working with and with whom my husband and I shared so many life experiences. Yet, almost three years on, I could actually count on one hand the ones I have kept regularly in contact with.
It goes in all walks of life – Primary school, the 6th form common room, the saturday job girls, the Uni crew, the sports club gang. What happened to those days we were all so tight knit?
The same goes for some of the Mums I met at my daughter’s nursery. We got on really well and I was sure we would meet for that coffee some time. We will, I’m sure. Soon.
And now, the next phase – my kids primary school, sports clubs, toddler groups and nursery. How many of these new faces will become big players in the game of life, and how many will be out at the first hurdle?
As each new chapter unfolds and new friendships blossom, it get’s harder and harder to maintain all these new friendships. Something has to give. With the best intentions in the world, it just can’t always be possible to keep up with everyone you’d like to.
And, as life moves forwards, statistics say a proportion of couples will break down and where does that leave the associated friendships? How do you get around the still meeting up for the occasional hang out, and let’s not even think about when they bring their new partner. #Awkward
And then there’s the biggy. I settled down, you didn’t. I had kids, you didn’t. Do I bore you to tears now? Do you feel I am judging you and your free spirited life? Is there always going to be an awkward void between us? Do you think I’ve replaced you with rent-a-mummy-friend, or can we just carry on as things have always been?
There will always be strong opinions when it comes to current affairs, and if an innocent discussion ends up a heated debate highlighting polar opposite views, can it damage your friendship? What if you can’t agree to disagree, can your midweek tea and biscuits ever really be the same again?
If one is all ‘remain remain’ and the other was like ‘BREXIT!’ is it time to call #TAXI?
I’ve lived in my home town all my life, but I have had friends move on and relocate. I have bonded with my husband’s friends who live a good hour away, and some of my best friends have moved to the other side of the world. So can a friendship ever really be the same when you can’t just meet up for an impromptu catch up? Even now, with the internet and the ease of video calling, it’s hard being unable to give, or receive a hug when it’s needed.
That said, no matter how far it seems you’ve both drifted, in one reunion it can feel as though you were never apart. You just need that damn reunion to happen.
When kids have differences
If your kids are twelve and ten, and mine are three months and two, does that drive a wedge between us? Are ages and stages really that important when it comes to us? Sure, I can’t do Quasar laser, and you can’t do soft play, but we can still chew the fat over coffee and cake whilst your kids look after mine, can’t we?
It’s a nightmare that my kid bites yours, or yours likes to pull mines hair, but we can see past that can’t we? Laugh about it and watch them fight to the death like the hunger games on a play date. I hope our friendship will always be better than to let that affect us.
If our kids were best pals as tots, and ended up at different schools, will we still invite them to the kids parties when their new pals are all the rage? And if the answer is no, will we ever forgive each other? Will we even give two hoots?
In ten years time, we might squeal and gush over our kids dating. We have joked about the wedding all these years – but if one of them ends up heartbroken, where would that leave us and all the year of happy memories?
If they’re all over the latest Dubai plans while you’re raving about Diversity at Bognor Butlins, is there a middle ground you can meet and remember the times you used to swap Saturday night outfits? Whether you’re an M&S food hall girl or an Aldi regular, can you really tell the difference where those tea bags came from when you’re sharing them brewed and smiling about the things that unite you?
If one of you has gone teetotal (baby making related or otherwise) and the other still hasn’t learnt when enough is enough, can your friendship see this out-out?
If the Mum you totally clicked with turns out to be the daughter of someone you were at school with (yeah that’s happened), can you really be equals, or will you always be mothering her? And does that even matter?
And if the average age at our new allotment is twice that of ours, can we fit in as one of the gang? Does age even matter at all in friendship once you are over eighteen, you’re both adults, right?
When it feels like everyone is hanging out at crossfit these days, and that just isn’t your bag, are you just going to be left behind? Do you have to join powerwave to get a wave these days?
Or perhaps you and your bezzo used to follow a band all over the place gigging away your hard earnt cash; a tough lifestyle to keep up when you created your own groupies who like to party ALL. NIGHT. LONG.
I know, I know, so many questions so few answers. I don’t have them I’m afraid. What I do know is that every single relationship is as unique as the individuals themselves. There is no right or wrong here, and no two people are wired the same way based on their own life choices, experiences and circumstances.
Life moves forwards, not backwards, and little stays the same for long in this life. Accept that whilst you are busy, so are they and there doesn’t have to be any hard feelings. A really good friend is one you can pick up with where you left, be it 6 weeks, 6 months or 6 years ago.
And I, probably like you, am very lucky to have friends who have weathered all of these storms, solid as a rock. Others have had a little more give, and some blew away in the first gentle breeze.
But over the years I have changed. You have changed. Although deep underneath it all we are still the same silly buggers we once were.
And perhaps, if someone has left a hole in your life, tell them; pick up the phone and get them right back where they belong, just once in awhile, for a good old dose of old times sake.
This post originally featured on www.meetothermums.com