One of the things I am looking forward to about heaven is that none of my friends will be dating and getting married (Mark 12) and none of us will be pressed for time. Seriously, 2010 was a record-breaking year of weddings and I have had six friends get married so far this year. Don’t get me wrong, I love to celebrate my friends’ happiness but I grow weary of “losing” and missing one close friend after another.
Most of the time, I enjoy being single. Something I dislike, though, is being left out because I do not have a significant other to do social activities with my friends and their sweeties. Some friends vanish when they start dating someone. Some manage to squeeze in “hang out time” until wedding plans get busy. After the wedding, the happy couple moves or is busy spending time together, with their families, and with their “couple friends.” If I was friends with the wife first, the two of us might get together occasionally (especially if I ask often). If I was friends with the husband, we don’t really hang out anymore unless we travel in the same social circles.
I’d Like to Tell Them…
You should understand I knew you were fantastic long before you met your sweetie
You should understand I am absolutely thrilled that you are happy together
You should understand sometimes I just miss my friend
I understand we are all busy
I understand we both prayed for you to find this person (and I don’t regret that!)
I understand wanting to spend lots and lots of time with your sweetie
I understand friendships change over the course of time
I understand life has seasons and this is a crazy one
I understand we still care about each other
I understand quality time means more to me than to some
I understand wanting to have “couple friends” when you are part of a couple
I understand, but that does not make me miss you less
Life Lessons (or How to Cope)
Step 1: Realize that not everything is about me.
Step 2: Weigh the opportunity cost. If I am upset, hurt, or annoyed by the changes to our closeness, I can choose to stew in that emotion or I can put more effort into staying maintaining the friendship.
Step 3: Decide that my close friends are, of course, worth the extra effort that it may take to get through this hectic season without losing touch completely.
Step 4: Be the social instigator. Invite friends to do things we both enjoy. Initiate social events for groups of friends. Try setting up a standing appointment. I have coffee* with two girl friends on the second Thursday of the month. Sometimes one of us misses or we cancel altogether, but the recurring plans mean that we still get together more often than when we tried to remember to set up one appointment at a time!
Step 5: Recognize that there is a season to let a friend go, but still remember and appreciate the past relationship.
*For us, “having coffee” means we will get together and talk and, at some point, we will discuss having coffee. Coffee consumption does not always occur, but that is still what we call it.
Originally posted on Practical Adventure, 13 October 2011