Dear Carolyn: Karen and I were best friends, talked every day by phone, email or text. Both divorced with kids and dating online. Sharing stories, experiences, advice. She finally found the man of her dreams, blending their families together.
I understand she is busy – I don’t expect our relationship to be the same – but we barely talk anymore. She may contact me once a week by email at work but that’s about it. I haven’t seen her in months.
I know she has a new family now, but my thinking is, you make time for what is important, and if our relationship is no longer important, I need to move on. But it’s very hard. What are your thoughts?
Losing an Old Friend
You “need to move on “? Why does it have to be so Big and Final?
I get that you miss your friend. It’s hard. I wish for your sake she’d just call and meet you for coffee. That’s what you’d do, apparently.
But that’s not what Karen would do, at least under her new circumstances – and as her friend you need to accept Karen as-is. Is she overwhelmed by the process of blending families? Possible – it’s not for the faint of commitment.
Or is Karen one of those friends who’s there for you only if she’s not in a relationship? Could be.
Or is Karen not a subscriber to “You make time for what is important,” but instead to “A real friend is the one who doesn’t make you pay when you get overwhelmed for a while and don’t call”?
I dunno. All of them seem possible. And it’s not as if being one or the other makes this silence OK; any friendship is not only about what each of you puts into it, but also whether you both get enough out of it. So, you can both be “right” by some objective standard and still not remain friends.
If she were my friend, then I’d take the weekly email as proof she still cares, and resolve to be patient. Just because she closed a door doesn’t mean you have to lock it from your side.
Re: Old Friend: I am almost 40 and never married, so I have been through my friends getting married, having children, buying houses, etc. The dynamic of every friendship changes when there is a significant other. Perspectives change too.
But you will have phases in your life where you are too busy for Karen. Sometimes to be a friend means letting them focus on adjusting to their new life. You will need your own time for things too.
And sometimes after a friend gets married, your paths diverge. Sometimes you stay on the same path.
It’s tough to be present at our jobs, with families, friends, and it can make a person feel overstretched. But when real friends see you, they will be 100 percent present.
So give Karen, and yourself, a little time to get adjusted. Don’t write off the friendship yet.
But I hear ya sister. It’s hard when the timelines are different. Know that you are loved no matter what.
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