Weathering the storms of friendship

October 24, 2016

friendship-renewedFor every friend that fades away, someone new appears or someone old comes back, in a kind of homeostasis that is undeniable. Changes in our roster of friends are just part of living –especially living a long time. If you’re young and can’t even imagine this, just wait. You’ll see.

Sometimes storms buffet a relationship, other times all it takes is a light wind to shift it off track. And then, like sun breaking through clouds, friendships can return. What a joy! Friendship renewed is a real gift.

No one holds a grudge like a Sicilian and since I’m of Sicilian descent, there’s been a whole bunch of fading away or just leaving in my family and friends circle. Storms, winds, and nothing at all have broken bonds, some I’d thought were strong, others were always tenuous.

Fortunately, holding a grudge isn’t one of my talents. Neither is leaving.

That’s why I’ve been well-positioned to receive the blessings of old friendships that went away (based on misunderstandings and other stupid stuff) and then, out of nowhere, and then were renewed in bigger and better ways. Having withstood some mighty tests, these relationships returned even richer and more valued by everyone involved. Yes, friendship renewed is a precious gift.

Gay Husband had some wisdom on this subject when we talked not too long ago:

friendship-renewedGreat thoughts. The tests of time–boy, is time a hard taskmaster when it comes to any kind of relationship. But really, even if a friendship disappears, the bonds are still there, just waiting to be re-attached. If we choose to link back up.

A few weeks back I spent the afternoon with a longtime sister-friend. Some years ago the friendship broke. I had no idea why, because I promise you that I am always the last to know. Call me clueless.  

Our distance lasted a long time. We’re very different, but we come from the same background. You might say we’re from the same place, even though I don’t mean it literally.  Over the years I missed her and the depth of understanding she brought to my life.

Be honest. How many people really see you? REALLY KNOW YOU? Probably not that many. Roots like that take a long time to grow. They’re valuable.

This year, we had an opportunity to sit down together and make it right. Lo and behold: our bond had weathered the storm. We both saw the value of our connection and the friendship is back in balance. What a gift it is, to have someone you love and who REALLY KNOWS YOU back in your life. It’s a gift more valuable than the rarest gem.

Here’s the reality: We’re all imperfect. As my Gay Husband points out, we must understand each other’s fragilities and forgive shortcomings. Because we all have them. No one is immune.  The basis of a good friendship is the ability to put all that in context and you know what? It’s worth it.

For the most part, people aren’t malicious. (But I do know a few who actually DO mean harm. You might, too, and in those cases, we are all well-rid of those relationships.) 

And then, sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture.

I’m reminded of a friend, now passed, who had some major personality issues. Big ones. As a result, he didn’t treat the people around him well and left some damage in his wake. Even though he hurt people I love, I saw him clearly and still cared about him. He wasn’t a malicious guy. He meant no harm. He never said a bad word about anyone.

He was just flawed.

I hated the behavior, but I loved him.

I try to keep that in mind when I look around because we’re all flawed. None of us is perfect and if we think we are, well, we’re wrong.

Don’t know about you, but I am always appreciating, enjoying and yes, even evaluating my friendships from time to time. It’s like any other system: good friendship health is key to a happy life.

Have you had to weather the storms of friendship? Have you been lucky enough to have a friendship renewed?

Tell us, below!

 

 

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45 comments on “Weathering the storms of friendship
  1. I was just writing a post about friendships so this is very timely. I have always been the “mender” of friendships –never wanting to let loose of them but then I realized that some friendships are only for a season. And that is okay. i just recently got together with my best friend from 1st and 2nd grade 50 years later. We had lost track of one another but then through the beauty of Facebook we found one another and rekindled the friendship. It was never broken but it was a wonderful feeling to find out that we still really liked one another all those years later. 🙂 Great post, Carol. Thank you!

  2. Paula kiger says:

    Lots of truth here. So much truth.I am in the middle of a “friendship awkwardness” period right now with someone I value. It’s hard to step back and not be angry (and I’m not even Sicilian!). I know this isn’t the right time to overcome the rift, but I can do my part in the meantime to put the events/words that were said in a less toxic “box” because ultimately I know the place they came from was a place of hurt and not anger. Thx for the reminder.

  3. Haralee says:

    I had an experience weathering the storm with a friend on her request.She basically sent everyone in her life a kiss off email. When the storm passed I chose not to resume the friendship. It was difficult because at first I thought I was just hurt but then I realized I didn’t miss her drama or her friendship or wanted it any longer in my life.

  4. Leanne says:

    I’ve just re-connected with a broken friendship too Carol and it’s been really nice to see it flourish again. Another one I don’t see getting repaired, but you never know what the future holds do you?

  5. Diane says:

    Recently connected with a friend who moved. And moved. And moved. We simply lost track of each other. I tried to ‘friend’ her on Facebook three years ago and when I received no response, decided she really didn’t want to renew. Then a month ago, she suddenly popped into the here from the hereafter and was just as chatty and friendly as ever. Turns out she had started her Facebook page but never really got involved with it until recently. I was SO happy! It’s like no time has passed.

  6. Hi Carol! You’ve definitely touched on an important issue here and something I think every one of us has dealt with through the years. I’ve been fortunate to still love and live with my husband after many years but have had a few breakups with friends that were pretty painful. One took me about 5 years to recover from because I never, ever understood what happened (call me clueless too!) and I kept thinking it would be resolved. But no. In the big picture I believe that things happen for a reason and that there are no accidents so I know that it was supposed to be But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard. thanks for reminding me that we are all flawed and doing the best we can with where we are. ~Kathy

  7. I have to admit that the friends with whom I’ve lost touch, well…it’s for the best. And the people who are in my life today are the ones who I’m delighted to spend time with, and I value their friendship greatly (or bigly, as an orange-faced someone might say). So I think things have worked out the way they’re supposed to. But your reminder that we’re all flawed sure does resonate, and I think I’ve gotten more accepting as I’ve gotten older (along with less tolerant of real BS/drama that sucks me dry). Is that a contradiction?

  8. Amber Myers says:

    It’s always tough when you lose friends. Since I’m a military spouse I move around a lot, and I do lose contact with some people. I try to always keep in contact, but if the other person isn’t willing, it’s difficult.

  9. Ruth says:

    As SD said to me when I feeling like I left someone behind. “They will catch up when they are ready if they were meant to.”

    Most importantly though, Carol, I love that you too are using homeostatis as part of casual conversation!

  10. Candy says:

    Over the year distance and other thing have happened to end a friendship. New ones are always made

  11. Crystal Gard says:

    It’s hard when you loose a friend. I have lost a few threw the years. I have learned that you find out who your real friends are when life throws lemons at you.

  12. What a lovely post Carol. So much truth in what you say. My 3 best friends have survived the test of time. All have been in my life for over 45 years! But, some other friendships have come and gone throughout the years.

  13. Barbara says:

    My best friend in adulthood, who stayed in touch with us wherever we moved which was no easy task, suddenly told me she simply couldn’t be friends anymore. We had just moved back to the same town and I was so excited to be close to her again only to be shut out. It was beyond painful, mostly because she had no real explanation and I had no clue why. Years later I ran into a mutual friend who asked me if I’d seen the lost friend. That’s when I realized she had pretty much written everyone off and it wasn’t just me. That helped a little but not a lot. I came to realize she was probably going through menopause at the time and kind of lost her mind a bit.
    I stayed in touch with her daughter over the years and tried to help her start a business then helped her through her divorce. Social media was a big help in keeping that bond and lo and behold my friend contacted me through facebook with a quasi-apology. I accepted the friend request and we have reconnected both families in social media but, nothing is the same.
    It is really painful to experience something like that when it has nothing to do with you but you suffer greatly.
    b

  14. You write so beautifully. Someone once said to me that life is a train and people get on and off your train at different stops at different times. I have found this to be true.However,it is painful when this happens.

  15. I feel like when the storms in friendships hit thats when the friendship is truly tested.

  16. Carolann says:

    Everything you wrote is so very true. I’ve experienced the same types of issues. It’s nice to know that other’s experience the very same. It can hurt at times when a good friendship turns south that’s for sure. But as I once heard, you can have a friend for a reason or a season. It’s all in the cards!

  17. Agree with you that renewed friendship is much precious. We tend to appreciate what we lost that moment even more. When friends come back, that’s angel send. Good friends are here to stay while sadly there are some who fade away. Life struggle!

  18. Laurie Stone says:

    Carol,

    Many relationships ebb and flow. Sometimes distance is necessary. Other relationships can be always close and its very comfortable. I love the give and take of these friendships. They make life interesting.

  19. sue says:

    I ‘ran away’ from friendships after my divorce. We were living in a different state from most of my friends so it was easy to drift away. How I regret that! However, I’ve reconnected with some and recently with my childhood best friend and it has been wonderful. Sometimes we just have to try and if we have weathered the storm then that’s great. If not, so be it.

  20. Heather says:

    I’m glad you were able to rekindle your long time friendship. I have a lot of friends and that often means I end up neglecting some that I don’t mean to. I do agree, if your friendship has deep roots, lots of time can go by, but things will remain the same. For me I like to not put any contingencies on friendships or people will always fail you. I have no expectations of them whatsoever. I think it might be why I’m so easy to get along with.

  21. Sometimes time is all that’s needed to help mend old friendships. And, sometimes, you just have to let it go.

  22. Jenn says:

    “I hated the behavior, but I loved him.” so true!

    I’m incapable of holding a grudge, and so when a friendship goes off…I guess I”m the last to know. A college roommate – one that I drove through Ireland with in a time before GPS and cell phones – just stopped returning calls shortly after I got married. She was in my wedding!
    To this day, I still don’t know why she stopped talking to me.

  23. What a great reminder. Life is too short to let wonderful friendships go over a simple mistake or because you are holding a grudge.

  24. I have experienced these things you write about. I’ve lost friends and I’ve purposefully let go of friends, and only the few I lost have ever bothered me. The reason it bothered me, in each case, was because they weren’t brave enough to tell me why, which left me wondering what I did wrong to deserve that. And that said, I don’t sweat anymore over any of those. I’m quite happy now with my life and those who left, well, their loss. I have few people in my life whose loss would truly upset me. Most are family members, and a handful are dear friends. But I have come to learn that this is just life. Some people will come back and some won’t. But I go on, living the best life I can.

  25. Our Family World says:

    Friendship is also important, I admit that I’ve lost one long time friend because of some problems.

  26. Your gay husband?
    Great post with some thought provoking insight. So true on the friends that leave and the ones that stay

  27. Valerie says:

    I’m always the mender and it get’s old. I had 2 friends who were acting terribly leave in August and I thought good riddance. It hurt me but not as much as their behavior.

  28. Such a great article! Friendships are so important.

  29. Karlyn Flores says:

    Friendship was important but until now I became sad when I remember my friends. We argue about the money

  30. Elizabeth O. says:

    I have a lot of acquaintances but very few friends. I have accepted that they would come and go but there will always be people who would stay. I understand that growing apart and finding your way back part because I’ve experienced that as well. For me. no matter what, friendships should be valued.

  31. I do resonate with this post. I fell out with a friend over some silly Uni stuff. We reconnected and got back real strong and we even visited each other a bit, Then she suddenly died. I felt blessed to have reconnected with her. Thanks for sharing Carol!

  32. Shelly says:

    Honestly, I don’t have a lot of friends. So I’ve never really had to contend with too much friend drama.

  33. Liz Mays says:

    I think it’s harder for women to hold long lasting friendships than men. I don’t have any left from childhood or even college, but my ex’s best friends are his childhood friends. They’ve never changed.

  34. Co says:

    I will admit it does make me sad when I lose touch with friends even though most of the time it’s for the best. Some people are just draining.

  35. Cori says:

    I think the only “storms” my friendships weather are the crazy hectic schedules we have, so we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like. It used to bother me a lot, but when I took a step back and saw that it wasn’t just them who were always busy. I was busy too. Perspective does help.

  36. Jena Proctor says:

    This is so hard. I use to put up with a lot from everyone because I hated conflict. I have had to cut a lot of people out of my life because they wanted to walk all over me. Others have weathered the storm of my changes and proved they truly care.

  37. courtney says:

    I think the storms that you go through with a friend are often the hardest to stomach but they (at least in my experience) help you find out who is a true friend and it helps you fight for the relationships that mean the most.

    La Belle Sirene

  38. Ima says:

    This has so much truth init
    I have lost so many friendships over the years but gained a lot more.
    I just naturally assume that this is the natural cycle of life.
    Door close, doors open.

  39. Lisa Rios says:

    I have got reconnected with a old friend almost after some 5years of gap between us and since then we are doing good that we were before. When you lose close friends that is going to hurt you for sure no matter if another new friend comes in you life!

  40. Ive gone through this with a friend we disconnected ourselves from eachother until she could grow up now we have reconnected and its great.

  41. I’m not good at long-distance friendships, so they tend to fade when one of us moves. We don’t end up with hostility or anything, but I do miss some old friendship. I just do better in person than on the phone or online. I think those friendships would be renewed if we ended up local to each other again.

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