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Give Her Some Slack, She Just Got Back!

June 25, 2011

I had coffee with a former work colleague who had moved away to take a new job. Michael and his wife, Staci*, returned to the city where they met in college. He mentioned that Staci had connected well with some of her old friends yet was having some difficulty re-establishing a relationship with others.

It seems some of Staci’s friends got a little miffed that she didn’t stay connected like they thought she should have when she moved to the opposite coast. So now that she’s back in the flesh, they’re rebuffing her a little. Staci wasn’t intentional about not connecting as much as she would have wanted. She got busy with her career, home, in-laws and building new relationships. She thought she was doing what we all would do – making new friends while keeping in touch with her “old” ones.

This story made us wonder:  Maybe we should discuss our expectations of how we want to stay connected when one of us moves away.  Isn’t that better than setting a threshold in our mind, and if our friend meets it, she remains in good stead, and if she doesn’t, she’s unknowingly moved from the friend to acquaintance category?

It’s something to think about. Can you remain friends with someone even if you haven’t heard from her in awhile? What does it take to sustain the relationship? Do you have a friend you only see every year or two—yet you take up just where you left off?

Please share your wisdom. Thanks so much!


*Names changed for privacy

6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 25, 2011 10:22 pm

    Diane, you make a very good point. I believe that friends who move should still stay in touch with their “old friends”. After all, how hard can it be to communicate at least occasionally when e-mail, texting, and smart phones are so readily available?

    I recently hosted an “old friend” who moved from Orange County, CA, to Ohio four years ago and did not stay in touch as much as I felt she should have. It seems like she only contacted me when she had a problem to resolve. Still, I was a good hostess — even lent her my newer car with a filled gas tank for the 10 days that she stayed with me. However, during her stay, I did not change the plans I had made previously with others, She, also, made plans to visit her Orange County friends independent of me. I was cordial and accommodating but did not revolve my life around her visit.

    Also, I did not take her back to the airport for her return flight to Ohio. I had previously made plans to attend a class on that day and time and wasn’t about to cancel my activity. So, I showed her how to take public transportation to the San Diego airport, and that’s what she did.

    :Later that evening, she called me, and the next day sent an e-mail message of thanks. Perhaps she will now keep in regular contact. Maybe and maybe not.

    • July 1, 2011 5:31 pm

      Pat, what a great example of extending your friendship and keeping your boundaries. We sure hope your friend will keep in touch. Thank you for sharing your experience with other women who may find themselves in a similar situation.

  2. Karen Pecor Hill permalink
    June 27, 2011 3:27 pm

    Before my oldest son Brian was born, 24 years ago (wow), one of my closest friends Dede, moved from San Diego to Portland Oregon. Ironically years later my family moved to Salem Oregon but by this time Dede had moved to Seattle. Over the years time has gotten away from us and years go by without us seeing each other but when we do talk or get together it is like no time has passed and we laugh and share as much as we did when we spent every weekend together. I think accepting that we both have made new lives for ourselves without forgetting what we mean to each other has allowed the friendship to stay strong and our commitment to stay close friends remains vital and healthy.

    • July 1, 2011 5:28 pm

      Karen, what a great reminder that friendships change and that we don’t need to harbor resentment if we don’t share the same kind of relationship we once did. Acceptance is key for sustaining and maintaining our friendships. You and Dede are fortunate to have each other!

  3. Sharon Thomson permalink
    June 29, 2011 1:00 am

    Some of us naturally are just connectors and easily stay in touch with long-time friends, and others would like to do that, and yet busy lives somehow crowd out our good intentions. I have a life-time friend since 3rd grade and as adults our lives have gone in different directions and to different states. And yet, when we do connect, it’s as if we’re as close as we ever were, just chatting and sharing as if no time had passed between us. It’s a wonderful feeling. And when i read this thread, I was reminded that I’m always the one to reach out to her, despite our joking about that, and promises to do better to stay in touch. Do I hold that against her that she rarely makes the connection between us? No, that’s such a small thing, and I cherish our friendship so much, I really don’t want to keep “score” on who reaches out to who. What’s important, is that one of us does reach out and we share good laughs and good times. Life is short, don’t waste it on harboring small grievances with those you love.

    • July 1, 2011 5:26 pm

      Thanks so much, Sharon, for your wisdom about not keeping score. You are right that it doesn’t really matter…what matters is growing our relationships. It’s so terrific that you’ve kept connected since 3rd grade! We so appreciate your comments and insights!

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