Make new friends but keep the old; One is silver and the other’s gold.
I learned that song in Brownies and it must have made a lot of sense to me as a 7-year-old because I have friends from prior chapters of my life. My best friend from 6th grade is someone I can rely on always to be there for me. Other best friends in now far away former places I have lived maintain contact through the joy side of the Internet and we sometimes get to visit in person.
When I first joined Graham he was taking a six-month sabbatical in Pueblo, Colorado and we made some wonderful friends there. Anne and Barring just left this morning after two very full days to continue their summer exploration of the Pacific Northwest before returning home. In the seven years since we left Colorado to return to West Virginia we have seen them twice and after basely skimming the surface of the wonderful attributes of the Willamette Valley on this short visit, they promise they will return to Oregon again.
It is difficult for some people to make friends. Some simply because they don’t recognize the signs of a mutual interest that could serve as a base for deeper communication and friendship. Friendship is not an instantaneous event and although I may have almost 300 “friends” on Facebook, many are people I have never met but we connected over some commonality. Whether that relationship builds to a true friendship will only be borne out over time. A few I think might; several others are not probable and the majority are in between. Being realistic of the term “friend” on Facebook is a sign of maturity.
It is also difficult for many people to maintain friendships when someone moves. I once worked for a wonderful woman who I am sure I will not offend at this moment because I sincerely doubt she reads anything I write now. I made a decision to move that had nothing to do with her. She maintained contact for less than six months, and then, silence to every email, letter and phone call I made. It leaves me wondering how she is, and what the hell happened? But I have to leave it behind. It was, after all, her choice.
This Patty Loveless song may sum up the pain many people feel when someone leaves. For those, the pain of the leaving may get confused with anger at the person who left instead of maintaining contact.
The internet and many cell phone plans make it easier than ever before for long distance friendship to continue. They are different, of course, then when people live proximal, but as my friend in New Jersey and these recent visitors from Colorado show, when there is love, there can be continuance. Forever. And so, I am wealthy beyond measure.
June 14, 2014 at 9:31 am
I LOVE this post!
June 12, 2014 at 3:17 pm
Because I’ve moved around quite a bit over the years, I’ve left friends behind in quite a few places. I’ve learned that there are those with whom you can pick up right where you left off without a hitch -even with many years intervening, but some just fade away with distance.
Interesting topic (as usual).
June 12, 2014 at 3:44 pm
I agree, it is easy enough to maintain the contact. That is why it is so confusing to me when someone I believed I shared a close friendship opts to stay quiet. All I can assume is the pain of my leaving was interpreted as abandonment and the person feels my moving was “away” instead of my “to” experience.
June 12, 2014 at 4:25 pm
I had that experience with a friend from back in the 60s. She came out to Oregon for a visit in the late 90s and things were just fine, but then I was supposed to visit her back in San Francisco around 2000. The timing happened to be right about when they learned her son was diagnosed with a serious brain tumor. I wasn’t at all put out when she told me she wasn’t up for company, but later when I tried to call to see how things were going, she wouldn’t answer emails or phone calls. It’s hard to tell what happened there. I have googled and it seems her son has survived (there was an article written), but I just let it go. At this point it feels really awkward to try to reconnect again.
June 12, 2014 at 4:30 pm
Well, if you read the other comment made on this blog, it was made by my friend from 6th grade. My response hints at a “quiet time” for us too. When I first moved from New Jersey she, too, felt abandoned. But we maintained some lower level of contact and decades later, when I needed someone to pick me up from the airport when my dad was ill, she said “of course” and things are healthy between us now. If your friendship with your San Francisco friend was good, try again. Life is too short to give up on live between people who are special.
June 12, 2014 at 1:31 pm
First time I’ve seen this photo! Don’t Graham & I make a lovely couple??? Seriously – what I thoughtful and insightful post! Interestingly, your sentence in the first paragraph, “My best friend from 6th grade is someone I can rely on always to be there for me” sounds very familiar – probably because I’ve frequently used similar language in describing YOU. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told people about how you practically dropped Sam off at school and then drove 9-10 hours from WV to NJ to hold my hand when you learned about Jim’s illness in 2011. AND, that you did that more than once! Thanks for reminding me – once again – about what’s really important in our lives… – me
Elizabeth (LIZ) Hance
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2014 20:12:25 +0000 To: email@example.com
June 12, 2014 at 3:46 pm
LOL…yes, you. I saved YOU, though, and did not discuss OUR quiet years LOL Or perhaps it would be pertinent to remind people that they can ALWAYS pick back up with someone who is farther away. HUGS