I remember a line from the opera The Great Gatsby about people coming and going. Gatsby held huge parties at his mansion (I was one of his waitresses in the Lyric Opera production), but wasn’t close to many of his guests. In our lives, we might lose touch with someone we care about; someone we know casually might take on a more meaningful role. We meet someone new we click with, and a new friendship is born. Others come and go.
Recently, several people have returned that I’m glad to have back, including a sorority sister found on Facebook. And a few are becoming more important. For now, or the longer term?
It can be hard to define what brings a person back into your life. Coincidence, timing… or is there a reason, a purpose, some impact one of you will make on the other? For example, I recently saw an author acquaintance at a conference. We chatted for a minute, but for whatever reason didn’t make plans to talk further. Now she’s visiting Chicago and we’re going to have dinner. Maybe we’ll just catch up and have a pleasant evening. Or maybe there’s something she’ll say–even if I’ve heard it before, she might say it in a different way–to make me realize which direction I want to go or help me to view challenges from a better perspective. Maybe there’s a way we can support each other going forward.
Are there people you miss? I miss two. One is a friend from college; we stayed close for many years…way before long distance was cheap and email, texting and Facebook kept people in constant contact. I’m not sure why we lost touch. And I can’t find her online.
The other is a friend I met years ago at a writing conference. We had so much in common we’d even brought the same pair of Ann Taylor pants to wear for the dressiest event. For awhile we talked every week to make sure we were on track with our life and writing goals. She came to visit a couple of times and we saw each other at other conferences. Then she adopted a daughter (and became one of those moms she said she wouldn’t…too busy to talk/keep in touch). She did email to say she’d call–several weeks ago. I’m sure when she does call, we’ll pick up right where we left off.
When one person’s lifestyle changes, the dynamic of the friendship often changes, too. When friends have kids and get caught up in whole new world of mom things. When you or a co-worker gets a different job. How do you maintain what you had, or do you accept that a new phase has begun?
And what about the people you’d rather not have in your life…a boss you don’t get along with, an annoying family member or someone who always seems to call/want something at the most inconvenient times (like the neighbor in the recently released Extract)? Can you gracefully find a way to limit communication or do you have to suck it up and put on a smile?
Then there are the friends you know you’ll have for the rest of your life. For whatever reason, there are people who just get you. Those you can always count on.
Thanks to my friends, just for being.