I went to a retirement party recently for an old friend. It was great to see him and share in this celebration of the next phase of his life. On the drive home I got thinking about how long it had been since I’d last seen him and how easy it is to let routines and life in general get in the way of maintaining those old friendships. I drew on my commitment for the New Year and decided that I would do better.
There is a wonderful comfort level with an old friend, you know where you stand, there is no pretense because they already know what you’re really like and accept you for it. Sometimes it seems more exciting to spend time with new friends and not pay attention to the old friends. After all with the new friends all your stories are fresh again, previous misdeeds are unknown, and that goes for both of you so it’s a clean slate to start filling in with new connections.
Those new friendships we make are important, some of them will grow and one day become old friends but I know I have to do a better job at looking after my old friendships. Those shared experiences are a part of who you are and shouldn’t be forgotten. I recognize that sometimes life will send you on a different path than your friends and you see less of them because your common interests and connections have lessened over time. Then I think you can just enjoy those memories and remain friendly but not necessarily connected. However, like a path that splits in the forest to go around an obstacle sometimes it will reconnect further along and so can an old friendship.
I try to be a good friend whenever I can. To be someone you can depend on, the person you know you can call anytime to ask for help, to care. I want to be that person. I know that the friendships I make bring out the best in me, help me grow and increase my capacity to love others.
It isn’t that hard to stay in touch if you realize the value, it is when we take things for granted that they can slip away from us.