Kissing Friendship Goodbye?
- Wednesday, August 18, 2004
How did I handle the challenge of feeling like I'd lost something when one of my best friends/roommates got married? First, I had to realize I wasn't as high on her priority list anymore, but she still cared for me and for our friendship even if she wasn't as available as she'd once been. I had to accept she and her husband were making new friends with other couples and families. There were times when it was frustrating and I was tempted to just let the friendship go. But I realized it was important enough to me to hang on. I just had to be flexible. Most difficult, but most important, I had to accept that as her life was moving in new directions, mine had to as well.
So, I focused in on other things I was called to do or was interested in. I got more involved in church. I took classes and seminars, and I went by myself! And I gradually peopled my empty life with new friends, married and single, male and female, older and younger. As someone once told me, there are "friends for a reason, friends for a season, and friends for life." I've got dancing buddies and walking buddies and coffee buddies and talk-for-hours-on-the-phone buddies. Some of them have never met the others. But together they fill my life.
And the friend who got married? She's still one of my best friends. She always will be.
My friend and I both have been divorced a long time—me for 10 years, she for 17 years. When she got remarried, I made the mistake of not calling her for a while. She let me know that was unacceptable! So we talked about it. I let my friend know I loved her, but told her I'd let her take the lead for a few months.
We shifted our frequent dinners to lunches, and I try to avoid calling during evening "family time" since she has a stepson. Her schedule is much less flexible, so we have to arrange big outings, such as nights on the town, far in advance. We e-mail more and call less. Spontaneity is limited, but everything else is fair game.
The worse thing single friends can do is assume their married friends don't need them. A spouse isn't all the social life married people need, even if it takes a few months to work out a new routine for the friendship. The strong ones will survive the marriage.
I have two best friends who are married. One has been married for ten years, one for four years. It's important to realize you won't have as much access to your friends, and that you now have two friends instead of one. Get to know their better half, and give them space. Whether or not their new wife or husband likes you can determine whether you still have a friend or whether it's time to say goodbye and fade into an acquaintance. Though I know of people who have dumped a best friend for their girlfriend, I'm grateful that my married/dating friends still make time for me.
My only other single friend got married about a year ago. While I was happy for her, I was devastated and depressed about my own situation. However, I took some time by myself to re-evaluate my life. I realized I wasn't passionate about anything. So I decided to do something I've always wanted to but hadn't been able to because I was too busy with friends. I enrolled in massage therapy school and am seven weeks away from going for my national certification. I'm pleased not only with the accomplishment of becoming a massage therapist and finding a trade I'm passionate about, but also with realizing that just because I'm single with no single friends doesn't mean I'm dead.
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