Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Making the Extra Effort

I grew up with a whole bunch of aunts and uncles who weren’t actual blood relatives. The aunts were all my mom’s childhood , and they stayed close throughout their whole lives.

I’ve never had a group of friends like that. Never for any long period of time. And, for the most part, this isn’t something I’ve felt was an issue. My childhood friends are all wonderful people. But I stopped having things in common with them a couple of decades ago. I’m still close to some of my friends from college, but we’re now scattered across the earth. So close, but far apart. There is no cohesive group with whom to share birthdays and holidays. Just occasional phone calls and even less occasional vacations.

And now, at 40, I find myself losing track of some (more) of the people I care about.  It’s certainly happened before, over the past couple of decades. Usually for the most obvious reasons. People move away, they get swallowed up by new jobs, and/or by new relationships.

The new relationships, that’s the big one, lately. In the past year I’ve had no less than 3 good friends completely disappear into new relationships.  Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m happy for them and their happiness. And I want their relationships to work. I vaguely recall how hard it is to make a work. With all of the time pressures/work//etc it’s easy to lose track of some of your friendships.

Anyway, it hit me, the other day, that I’m not OK with this. That if it means I have to be the one who makes all of the effort to keep these friendships alive, I will.  Even if that’s a little perverse and unfair and maybe even desperate. Whatever.  And whatever it takes. I’m tired of losing the people I love.

I don’t plan on having kids or having anyone’s kids call me Aunt… (funny thing, my closest friends are all childless). But I do think of my friends as family. And I’m willing to make that extra effort to keep them in my life.

ps They all know about this blog, but none of them actually read it (to the best of my knowledge).

Tags: , ,

7 to “Making the Extra Effort”

  1. alphaFoxNYC says:

    I have been blessed to have a close circle of friends for 20 years now. They ARE my family and know me better than anyone in my “technical” family do. We are a mix of gay men (mostly in couples) and LTR straight couples (I am the lone singleton in the NYC gang). None have children so that is probably why we’ve all managed to stay so close. And we all consider each other “family” and celebrate birthdays, thanksgiving and random celebrations together. When my best friend’s father passed in October they all made the drive from NJ/NY/DC to western PA for the funeral. Friendships are a lot of work and maintenance but the older you get the more you treasure them – having people who knew me at 20, saw the crap I did and STILL want to be my friend means the world to me. :)

  2. C. Fassett says:

    Yay! Good for you!

  3. I have had the same girlfriends since early childhood. I met my two best friends in a Mom & Tots class when we were 1. These women are my sisters. Their children refer to me as “auntie.” I don’t know what I would have done without these friends. They are my world, my sanity. Men have come and gone but my friendships have only grown stronger. I have even dedicated my blog to them.

    It’s good that you are understanding about life’s pressures. Sometimes things take us away from our friendships for a bit but, if the friendship is solid, then it can be just a phase. Don’t let go of your friendships. Make the effort. I do and I reap the benefits!

  4. Make new friends 😉 Ones that will read your blog!

    My best friends are a mixture of women ranging from when I was 8 years old to a good girlfriend I have known now for 3 years. But they are not friends with each other. I know what you mean though. I too wish I had a group of friends that always hung out together and were all friends with each other.

    I find that couples tend to hang out with other couples, and if you’re single, you’re not invited to the same get togethers. So as people start to get coupled up and married and have babies, the number of single friends dwindles…

    As a result of that, I’m trying to make NEW female friends. :) it’s not always that easy!

  5. I, too, have a smaller circle of ‘good friends’ as opposed to a large group of acquaintances. Some come and some go; eventually they’ve all come back…so far. My best friend John, who I’ve known since college, got married two years ago this March. I love his wife and consider her to be one of my best friends as well. Their new family and life together (she has two daughters from her previous marriage) takes up a lot of their time, so at best, we get a chance to hang out maybe once or twice a month. John and I have been friends long enough that the once or twice a month is frequent enough to keep the friendship alive. About the time we realize it’s been ‘too long’, we set something up. I only have one sibling (a sister), so my friendships are definitely an extension of my family and are worth the extra effort to cultivate.

  6. NikkiB says:

    Yep. Reinforced this for myself recently. I do think there’s something to be said about having your effort reciprocated to some degree, there are those people that I hope never to lose, regardless of the distance between us. I love to travel. I can visit.

    This is the one positive I can think of for social networks. They DO keep me in touch and up to date on things my far-flung friends have been up to, from traveling Asia to having babies. I do love that aspect of it.

    Here’s to friends!

  7. NotYetCrazyCatLady says:

    Wow, good topic. I have 4 friends that I have had since grade school. I don’t call them (and they don’t call me) with every little detail about their lives but when we do get together (4 or 5 times a year) it all comes spewing out. The one really close friend I had who WAS that person with whom every little detail was exchanged (we talked/text every day) got engaged to someone I didn’t even know she was dating again. And I wasn’t the only one who didn’t know she was seeing this guy again..none of her other friends knew either and they’ve been in the picture longer. Now the question is do I hang around to pick up the pieces when the implosion occurs as it surely will if she was so reluctant to even acknowledge this guy in public? Umm no. When the trust was broken a new perspective was gained and it isn’t the relationship for me.