Relationships require time, energy, and sometimes money. Acknowledge the phase you are in and whether or not you have time to cultivate new relationships or maintain existing relationships and at what level. With a slight schedule change, some acquaintances become valued confidants. Likewise, there may be a once-close relationship, and now you barely have time to check in with each other. Both scenarios are okay, and you should not feel guilty about either. Schedules fluctuate, and interests change. Instead of focusing on what you had, be intentional about enjoying what you have now.
A few years ago, after the run-into-an-old-friend dance, I changed my calendar to be proactive. Instead of lamenting how I never met up with old friends, I reach out to several friends at the beginning of each month to see who is available. For the first three who reply, I schedule for the month. This process has enabled me to catch up with those no longer in my active circle.
There are times when one of you outgrows the other. As difficult as it may be, you must know when it is time to move on from a relationship. It can be hurtful when one person constantly puts in more effort to maintain a relationship. Sometimes, the calls become less frequent, the run-ins become more superficial, and the interactions are less meaningful. Some friendships fade to black like the end of a movie; others have an explosive finale.
Life circumstances change, altering the nature of the friendship. Holding on to that friendship is possible with mutual interest. If your friend becomes an empty nester quicker than you, she is no longer at the ballpark for hours. If a friend has another baby, she may find herself in different playgroups to accommodate her little one. If her child switches from swimming to horseback riding, you won’t have those naturally occurring regular meetups. However, you can opt to meet for other activities- morning walks, book clubs, a coffee date, or a monthly dinner, which could also allow the children to maintain a friendship.
Regardless of where you are currently, spend time reflecting on your relationships to decide which ones need pruning or watering.
Who do you want to spend more or less time with?
Who do you miss?
Who would you like to know better?