I’ve struggled with this issue multiple times as I’m sure you have too. In life, there are different stages of growth and in those different stages, we meet different people. There are people we meet in our journey that we really wish and hope to keep being friends throughout their lives for various reasons. When a major shift happens in our lives, it could be graduation, relocation, marriage and so many other reasons.
We struggle to keep a healthy communication with those we left behind, does that mean either of you are bad people? Probably not. Everyone is just trying to sort out themselves and life actually becomes so busy so much so that friendships suffer. There are times I remember friends I haven’t heard from in ages, I always say I’ll message/call them then I completely forget. Before you can say jack, days turn to weeks and months and even years, then by the time you see them next, things have completely changed and everything becomes totally awkward and that bond just isn’t there anymore.
HERE ARE THE WAYS
While being in a different stage from our friends can be tough for so many reasons, it doesn’t have to imply the end of our friendship
- Make time for new Memories
Memories are what keep us going most times when things are rough and while it’s always nice to remember the past, don’t forget that relationships suffer when you fail to set aside time to make new memories as the old memories become just that, old. Trying out a new activity together is a great way to stay up to date with each other’s lives while getting in some much-needed leisure time. Being spontaneous probably won’t work well as it used to as because things are not how they used to be. Planning ahead helps make sure that your time together doesn’t get sidelined by other commitments or responsibilities. Authenticity will bridge the gap between your different situations in life so it’s always better to be vulnerable by talking about your struggles. With most of my friends working and some being in different locations we plan for lunch or dinner and those that are not so close, technology has made everything much easier.
- Label your Limits
There other things that come in the way of friendships when you’re in different life stages. While it helps to be accommodating and flexible, it’s equally important to be upfront about how much you’re realistically able to bend and compromise and be honest about what you can expect from your friend. In every relationship that exists, boundaries and limits is crucial to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings and conflicts. In finances, trying to start a business or family, it is important to always let your friend know that things have changed and somethings that used to be cool just isn’t anymore. They’re your friends, you shouldn’t feel uneasy about discussing things no matter how uncomfortable it can get. If you can’t afford some places that they have suggested, then you tell them.it also never hurts to take initiative and suggest an idea or alternative that takes your friend’s situation into account. This kind of thoughtfulness is often deeply appreciated.
- Avoid social Comparisons
Comparisons is the thief of joy. Sometimes, we find ourselves comparing ourselves to our friends, it can be unconscious we don’t even realise we’re doing it and we don’t even realise that it is driving us into trying to “prove” that we’re not failures and what not. Don’t feel bad, it is a completely normal human feeling. However, we should not allow it to drive away from our friends. We should always understand that life is in seasons and instead of noticing all the ways you feel behind or being overly self-critical, remember that everyone deals with their share of ups and downs.
As cliché as that sounds, you never really know what someone is struggling with, even a close friend. Sometimes you deliberately avoid your friends because you feel you’re “behind” and they’ll mock you and in doing so, you push them away. It’s honestly all in your head but if you’re certain they will mock you then you need to put things in perspectives and change your friends, you shouldn’t be made to feel in adequate where you’re appreciated.
- Make new Friends (and keep the old)
Ultimately, it’s really common and even expected that friendships will change or drift as we go through transitions in life. And so, in addition to adjusting the terms of your old friendship, you might decide to branch out and make new friends who are in a similar stage as you (like single friends, new mom friends or work friends). Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to give up on your old friendships. And also, know when to let go if things aren’t really working out.
How have you been able to maintain your friendships?