Sunday, 3 May 2015

friendship quotas

midlife blog ~ cresting the hill

I've been thinking about friendships a bit lately and how many friends I have and how they relate to different aspects of my life. I've also wondered about whether there is a finite number of friendships that I can sustain at any given time.


I have friends in my life who have come at different ages and stages. My oldest friend is the daughter of one of my mum's friends (they went to school together) and I have photos of my friend in her pram next to mine (we're quite close in age). Then there's my friend who I've known since my first year at primary school - we are in the same class photo and she was one of my bridesmaids. 

There are friends from high school, friends from youth group, friends from various workplaces, friends who became part of my life when I met my husband, and friends from when I was a young mum progressing through to when I was a not-so-young mum. Add to those a few friends I've made over the last decade and I have quite a bundle of women that I could list off as "friends".

The thought that came to mind recently though, was how many of these "friends" are truly "friends" and not just good acquaintances. I think it breaks down into a) close friends, b) friends and c) people I know or are friends with on facebook or at church or in some other less connected way. The other thing I noticed is that the number in each category gets smaller the closer they get to me. I seem to only be able to manage a certain number of close friendships in my life ~ is this my friendship quota?

As I've gotten older I seem to have become less social and the friends I hold close are women that have made an effort to stay connected to me and who make me feel that I am as important to them as they are to me. I could probably count those women on one hand and that is enough for me. The less close friends are a little more numerous - maybe a two hand count - they are still important to me but due to distance or conflicting schedules or different stages of life, they are less present in my world. The number in this group tends to fluctuate a little and I've noticed that as one friend drops away, another becomes more important - almost as if the quota is self-maintaining. I love these women and catching up with them is always rewarding, but there is not the same level of depth as there is with my close handful.

I'm not sure if other people have self-limiting quotas when it comes to maintaining friendships. I'm yet to find out if it's to do with the time I have available (there'll be more of that soon) or whether it's my personality and how much energy I have to invest in relationships. One of my friends is able to give more time to her friends because she is less connected to her husband than I am to mine. She needs other women to help fill that gap. My daughter has a very intense relationship with her husband and has very little left over to give to others. So I assume everyone's quota is different and may fluctuate depending on their age and stage of life.

I'm finding that I value my few close friends more as I get older, they don't let me down and they are going through similar life stages - we can laugh at our mothering mistakes and sympathize with each other's menopausal mishaps and bolster each other's confidence when getting older is getting us down. I'm looking forward to growing older with them, but I also want to keep adding new people to my mix so that I can learn and not get stuck in a rut. One of the joys of blogging is finding some new people who are sharing their journeys and teaching me about a whole different world that I never knew I could be a part of. Thanks ladies!


10 comments:

  1. Oh. My. Goodness. All of the above! We are kindred spirits in the 'friends' department, Leanne! Great post!

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    1. Thanks Diane - it's good to know that I'm not alone! Thanks for stopping by :)

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  2. As I've gotten older I've found that I definitely have a "quota" on the number of friends I see regularly. I think I've realized that time is precious and I only want to spend it with people who matter to me and vice versa!

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    1. So true Lana - we invest our time more wisely as we get older and I'm finding that I careful who I give my time and heart to.

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  3. I value close friends too. They are my cheerleaders, my allies, part of my heart!

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    1. Mine too Haralee - they make all the difference

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  4. This post raises some really interesting posts. I have moved a lot in my life, and from each place have carried a few friendships with me. It has always interested me as to which friendships were "in the moment" and which stood the test of time and distance.

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    1. That's a good point Susan - I find it interesting too as to who I'm still friends with after 20 or 30 years and who fell by the wayside - some I thought I was close to but obviously they didn't feel the same way?

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  5. Since moving 400 miles from my home state a couple of years ago my friends are few and far between at this point in my life. It's hard to maintain friendships when my time is so limited. I am with mom 24/7 and that makes it hard to get together. I have found friendships online that I treasure so much. I do have a very best friend who lives back in KY that I only get to see a couple of times a year but my other two best friends have died and it's been hard for me to get to that level with anyone since.

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    1. I'm glad you still have a BFF (to quote the youngies) but I'm noticing that my friendships are diminishing with time - I'm really enjoying these online interactions too - I feel like I'm getting to know a new group of friends without having to leave home. Have a great day and thanks for being one of my online buddies!

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